Iowa State Fire Marshal Raymond Reynolds has temporarily banned open burning in Plymouth County.
The ban on open burning began at 9 a.m. today (Tuesday) and is in effect until the state fire marshal is notified dry conditions dangerous to life or property no longer exist, according to a proclamation Reynolds issued Monday.
Le Mars Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper, representing each fire department with a fire district within Plymouth County, made the request that Reynolds prohibit open burning.
Schipper said the request was due to extremely dry conditions.
Residential fire permits are not included in the temporary ban on open burning, Schipper said.
The temporary ban prohibits burning of garbage, trees, road ditches and other open burning in Plymouth County.
People who violate the open burning ban may be issued a citation for a simple misdemeanor violation.
A court appearance could be required and a judge could sentence someone to serve up to 30 days in the county jail, according to state law.
There could be a fine of up to $625. The actual amount will be set by a judge when someone is sentenced.
A person may be sentenced to both jail time and a fine.
The only fires allowed during a ban on open burning are controlled burns when a fire chief has issued a permit and proper supervision is planned, a press release from Reynolds said.
The heat wave experienced in Iowa in the past two weeks is creating "tinder box" conditions throughout the state, said Reynolds.
One-third of the state is in a burn ban this month, according to a press release from Reynolds.
To avoid fires Reynolds suggested Iowans:
* Do not litter or throw lit cigarettes from moving vehicles because grass fire ignite easily in dry conditions
* Avoid the use of sky lanterns and other fireworks celebration items involving sparks or flames
* Avoid burning yard waste or piled tree debris which is responsible for a majority of fires on land
Open burning was banned in Lyon County at 1 p.m. Monday. Other counties with temporary bans on burning are in eastern Iowa.
People may get additional information on burn bans and state laws on fire restrictions through www.dps.state.ia.us.