Johnson County Added to List of Eastern Iowa Burn Bans

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

(PUBLISHED: Belle Plaine firefighters used leaf blowers to control a fire on Monday off Highway 21 south of Belle Plaine in Benton County. The fire started on Sunday and was extinguished, but it reignited Monday. Such brush fires have generated plenty of work for firefighters. A dispatcher from the Tama County Sheriff's Department said that county had about 12 brush fires on Sunday and eight more on Monday. Iowa State Fire Marshal Jim Kenkel on Monday issued a burn ban for most of Tama County. Open burning is prohibited in the county except in the Dysart fire district. Cass, Appanoose and Keokuk counties remain under burn bans. Russ Spading of the Belle Plaine fire department said the fire was started by campers and wasn't sure when the blaze would beout.) Belle Plaine fire fighters use leaf blowers to control a fire line on Monday, March 24, 2003 off of Highway 21 south of Belle Plaine. The fire started on Sunday, March 23, and was extinguished, but reignited Monday afternoon.

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By Belinda Yeung

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Due to the dry and hot conditions in Eastern Iowa, Johnson County has been added to the list of counties under a “burn ban,” meaning residents are prohibited from opening burning within county limits.

The ban became effective at noon Thursday and will remain in effect until conditions improve and the state fire marshal issues an order lifting the ban.

Violation of a burn ban is considered a simple misdemeanor, and violators could face a fine if caught with an illegal fire in the county limits during the ban.

The order does not prohibit a supervised, controlled burn that has been permitted by the local fire chief and it does not prohibit the use of outdoor fireplaces, barbecue grills, supervised landfills and the burning of trash in incinerators or trash burners made of metal, concrete, masonry, or heavy wire mesh.

Burn bans have been issued for 19 other Iowa counties, including Linn County, which banned open burning on July 6; Tama County, which issued its ban on July 9; and Scott County, which had had a ban in effect since July 11.

Temperatures in Johnson County have been higher than normal – the average high in Iowa City in June was 85.5 degrees compared with the normal average high of 81.6, according to the National Weather Service. The county’s rain totals for June were below the normal levels.

Iowa City accumulated 1.73 inches of precipitation, down from the normal average of 4.61 inches, according to the weather service.

For a map of all Iowa counties under a burn ban click here

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