Burn ban remains in effect

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PLYMOUTH CO. — With a few days of small amounts of rain this past week, citizens of Le Mars and Plymouth County as a whole may be wondering if the county burn ban is still in effect.

Le Mars-Fire Rescue Chief David Schipper said the countywide ban is indeed still being enforced.

“As of today, we are still in a burn ban. We’ve got to take our time and see what happens,” Schipper said. “It’s the county chiefs that have to decide to lift it and we try and do that unanimously because of the fact that you can’t really lift it for one district and not another.”

Schipper explained the small amounts of rain don’t do a whole lot to help the dry conditions.

“These hit-and-miss sprinkles where Le Mars gets two-tenths and Hinton doesn’t get any, that’s not going to lift the ban for the county. We’ve got to get rain throughout the county,” Schipper said. “The ground is just grabbing it and soaking it in.”

According to Sioux Falls National Weather Service Hydrologist Mike Gillispie, it has been since May 20-21 when the Le Mars Municipal Airport measuring site last saw over an inch of rain in one event.

Rainfall totals over the last few months have been extremely low, resulting in dry conditions.

In the month of June, the airport received a total of 1.42 inches of rain, falling way short of the annual June average of 4.44 inches.

The same could be said for July, with the site receiving 1.5 inches of rain, compared to the average July amount of 3.2 inches.

Gillispie noted a site about a mile southeast of Le Mars registered .92 inches of rain July 26-27, but conditions overall were still very dry.

Schipper said when you’re that far behind, short bursts of rain don’t make much of a difference.

“We need a good two or three day soaker,” he said.

Le Mars Fire-Rescue has received about eight complaints of illegal burning during the ban, which started July 22.

“This is the stuff we’re trying to stop, the burn pits, the old buildings the tree piles, the ditches, that kind of thing,” Schipper said. “Most of them haven’t realized we’re in a ban yet. They were all very compliant when we asked them to put it out or put it out for them. Everybody knows how dry it is.”

Schipper added people unsure of whether the ban is still in effect can call the fire station at 546-4023.

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