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July 19, 2012 09:56 PM

Lincoln County To Consider Fire Emergency

Canton, SD

Lincoln County's Emergency Manager wants fines handed out to property owners who have fires that get out of control.

It's not a burn ban specifically but it holds residents in the county accountable if they decide to start a fire.

Long time Lincoln County residents like Otto Hagedorn know how dangerous the dry weather can be.

"Public should be aware. It's a serious situation and we need to help prevent anything we can," Hagedorn said.

Emergency officials in the county also know how dangerous the fire conditions are right now.

"This whole area of southeastern South Dakota is in a critical stage," Lincoln County Emergency Manager Harold Timmerman said.

Timmerman plans to ask the county commission next week to pass a resolution declaring a fire emergency.

"If someone were to light a burn pit on fire, burning some trees or rubbish or whatever and it gets out of hand they can be cited for that if this resolution passes," Timmerman said.

Officials say an emergency like this will help make sure people keep a close eye on their fires if they do decide to burn in the dry conditions.

"It puts a little bit of enforcement behind it other than just saying don't burn. Also, it will bring the public's attention to how dry it is and how bad these fires can get quickly," Timmerman said.

Hagedorn thinks declaring a fire emergency is a good idea.

"I think there should be some kind of control on it. Some people will start a burn barrel and then go away and leave it and sparks fly out and nobody is around to catch it before it's an emergency, then it's too bad," Hagedorn said.

And that's a situation the county wants to avoid as the dry conditions continue to get worse.

Timmerman plans to address the county commission about the fire emergency at the upcoming meeting on Tuesday.

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