By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Spring has sprung and many area residents will be using this weekend’s beautiful weather to get out and do some yard work. While a bonfire is a great way to get rid of the dead leaves and branches that have accumulated over winter, the Starkville Fire Department would like to remind everyone that a permit is required for all burning.
Residential burn permits are designed for people that want to burn sticks, leaves, branches and any other natural materials. Permits can be purchased for two dollars from either City Hall or Fire Station #1 located at 503 East Lampkin.
“Once they’ve paid, then somone will actually come out to the house to do an inspection on what they’re burning,” Fire Marshall Mark McCurdy said. “And once it passes our inspection, then we approve the permit.”
There are several requirements that must be met before a permit can be issued. The fire must not be within 50 feet of a structure. Only natural non-processed materials, such as leaves or branches, are permitted for burning. Trash and treated lumber, for example, are prohibited. The fire department also requires that burning happens only during the day and that someone monitors the fire at all times. Means to put out the fire, such as a garden hose or fire extinguisher, must be available as well.
“We look at the weather conditions too,” McCurdy said. “During the real heat of the summer and we’ve gone a few weeks without rain, we’ll have a burn ban.”
But, thanks to the rain the area received over the last few weeks, the conditions are safe for burning.
Residential burning permits will be valid for one week from the time of purchase. If caught burning without a permit, the fire department may issue a fine up to five hundred dollars.
Anyone with questions should call Fire Department #1 at (662) 323-2962. Ask for Fire Marshall Mark McCurdy or Fire Marshall Stein McMullen.