After several weeks without rain in the region, Greater Napanee is the latest area to declare a total burn ban.
Fire Chief Rob Serson says the ban is necessary in these tinder dry conditions.
“Discarded cigarette butts, all-terrain vehicles off roading, farm equipment,” Serson said, “they could easily start a fire under these current conditions.”
Kevin MacLean, who owns Ripple Brook Farm on County Road 2 just east of Napanee, says he’s had a close call harvesting hay in one of his fields using a disc bind, which has a large number of high-speed rotating knives.
“One of those knives had caught a stone, sparked and the field was on fire already,” MacLean said. Though he managed to extinguish the small blaze before it spread, the incident highlights how dry the region is.
Before taking any large equipment into the field, MacLean says he and his employees thoroughly check all the farm machinery to make sure parts are in good working condition. MacLean also cleans equipment like his square baler with a leafblower, in order remove all dry chaff.
“The best thing we can do is carry a fire extinguisher in the tractor as well,” MacLean said.
Anyone caught violating the total burn ban can be fined $175, and Serson says if a fire gets out of control and the fire department has to step in, the individual responsible could be stuck paying the department’s bill.
The total burn ban will remain in effect until the dry conditions improve.