A month-long, countywide burn ban in Schuylkill County is now in place. The ban, which took effect at noon Friday, will remain in place until noon on Sun., May 5.
The ban is the result of extended periods of low humidity and insufficient rainfall, resulting in very dangerous fire conditions, officials said.
"We are taking this action earlier in the season with the hope of raising awareness within the community and limiting the danger of uncontrolled fires," John Matz, the county's emergency management coordinator, said Wednesday. "We urge the public to adhere to these temporary restrictions in the interest of everyone’s safety."
Under the ban, residents are forbidden from any outdoor burning of items such as garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter and paper. Grilling in proper containers is still permitted, however, the ban forbids lighting fires in outdoor burn barrels or fire rings.
People violating the ban face fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $300 for each additional violation. Violators are also responsible for the cost of putting out any wildland fire they cause.
Questions can be directed to the county’s Emergency Management Agency at 570-622-3739.
The last countywide ban burn to be enacted in Schuylkill County was in April 2012.