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Commission reviews burn ban, fireworks restrictions ahead of Fourth of July holiday

By Sue Sitter - | Jun 26, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT A sign outside of the Rugby Fire Department places Pierce County’s fire danger at the “High” level.

Pierce County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a countywide ban on fireworks during fire danger conditions in a special June 22 meeting held at the Pierce County Courthouse.

The ban came just after the commission approved a declaration of emergency for the county due to exceptional drought conditions experienced in the area during recent months.

Commissioners first banned fireworks altogether in a June 21 special meeting before amending the ban the next day.

Commissioners amended the ban to apply to the use of fireworks during “High, Very High or Extreme (indexes) or (when) a Red Flag Warning has been issued.”

The board made the changes after Commissioner Ashley Berg pointed out the fire index system to members and called attention to a clause in Pierce County’s original May 4 burn ban, which included fireworks, in the “High” and above condition levels.

The ban went into effect less than two weeks before the Fourth of July.

The commission agreed to call a special meeting to amend the ban if the county received what Commissioner Terry Hoffert called “a decent amount of rain” between June 22 and July 4. Commissioners defined the term as “at least a couple of inches in one day.” Commissioner Ashley Berg pointed out fire danger indexes to the board, calling attention to a clause in the county’s original May 4 burn ban, which prohibits the use of fireworks when Pierce County’s fire index sits at the “High, Very High or Extreme index and/or a Red Flag Warning has been issued.”

The commission made no decisions on fireworks sales.

Commissioner Dave Migler said the resolution would give sellers “some forewarning.”

Although the May 4 ban included fireworks commissioners decided to highlight the fact it it applied to fireworks in light of the approaching holiday.

In other business, commissioners heard updates at their June 21 meeting on repairs planned for the courthouse elevator. The board also considered repairs needed to sidewalks near the courthouse and resolved to search for a contractor for the work. They also listened to updates on local applications for state aid to repair county roads. Commissioners also approved a request for more hookups for campsites in a park in Barton.

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