Thursday, April 02, 2009

2339 Fire control

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In previous years, you could get a (free) burn permit that was good for about two weeks. The fire district wanted permits of limited duration so that they could withhold permits when weather conditions were bad for fires. There's a healthy fine for having a fire without a permit.

When I got the permit today, I was surprised to find that it was valid for a full year. I walked out wondering what that would mean when it got real dry in late summer.

The local fire department is completely volunteer. When I was a member, there were over 200 volunteers. Now it's down to a third or a quarter of that, and they are desperate for people. The town wants to go with professional firefighters, which would mean a good-sized increase in taxes, which has almost no chance of passing a referendum.

It seems to me that if your fire department is understaffed, you'd want to limit outdoor brush burning to only safe times and conditions. So what's with this unlimited burn permission?

The conspiracy theorist that lives in the back of my head is whispering that the town hopes to have a few good fires. Let a few people accidentally burn down a few houses and barns by burning brush in dry or windy conditions. Let the fire spread and threaten more houses and businesses. Let folks see how inadequate our current fire coverage is. That would drum up some support for a pro fire department. It's not like they're targeting anyone - it would be completely the luck of the draw.


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