Douglas County officials imposed a burn ban Friday morning, effectively immediately.
The order prohibits people from lighting outdoor fires through midnight Aug. 16 in unincorporated areas of the county.
Jere McElhaney, chairman of the county commission, signed the order at 10:30 a.m., after a brief meeting with Paula Phillips, the county's director of emergency preparedness. Phillips had carried a recommendation from township fire chiefs, who had asked that a ban be imposed beginning Monday.
But McElhaney said he couldn't wait. Brome grass in one of his fields caught fire Thursday ignited by sparks from a power line to indicate the parched conditions throughout the area.
"We needed to do something," McElhaney said.
According to McElhaney's order, signed at the county courthouse, the following prohibitions are in effect:
- The careless use and disposal of smoking materials, including cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
- Building, maintaining, attending or using any open fire or campfire, except in permanent stoves or fireplaces, or in barbecue grills in developed recreational sites or residential home sites.
- Burning of fence rows, fields, wildlands, ravines, trash, debris or other materials.