Burn bans, fireworks fuel concern

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — With no rain and no relief in sight, counties and cities across our area implement new rules.

Burn bans are in effect in many counties and cities throughout the Local 6 viewing area.

Currently, there are burn bans in effect in the following Kentucky counties: McCracken, Ballard, Crittenden, Graves, Hickman, and Hopkins counties.

In Missouri, Cape Girardeau County is under a burn ban.

In Illinois, there are burn bans in the city of Marion, Carterville, Herrin, Johnston City, village of Pittsburg, Lake Egypt fire protection district, and Williamson County Fire protection district.

Burning isn't the only thing local leaders are worried about. Fireworks are fueling concerns.

Lots of folks are preparing for Independence Day celebrations. Many are already shooting fireworks and while they may be perfectly legal to shoot, a local sheriff has a warning to folks who aren't taking proper precautions.

"It's not worth you losing your property, neighbor losing their property or a farmer losing crops," McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden said.

He and deputies will be looking for people disobeying the county's new burn ban and while they're not illegal, Hayden is also worried about fireworks.

"My advice to them, if they don't have a safe place to do it, not to do it," Joyce Rose said.

Rose stopped by Paducah's Bluegrass Fireworks to get fireworks and advice.

"I've never seen any of this before so I asked a lot of questions and he was very helpful," Rose said.

The New York native will be shooting fireworks for the first time and wasn't ashamed to admit she was a little intimidated.

While we might be inclined to shoot fireworks in open fields, the sheriff said this year that's not a good idea.

"Use some common sense think about what you're doing," Hayden said.

As far as burning is concerned, the McCracken County burn ban will likely be in effect for quite a while and the sheriff said when caught, those who disobey it will pay a hefty price.

The sheriff said if you're caught burning during the burn ban, that's considered disorderly conduct. It carries an up to a $250 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.

The McCracken County order reads, "The ban will remain in effect until the county experiences a sufficient amount of moisture for the ban to be lifted safely."

The sheriff said that could be a long time.

If you live in an area where a burn ban has not been mentioned, you're advised to call your local fire department before you burn, just to make sure.

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