Violating burn bans can carry hefty fine, jail time

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Dozens of Kansas counties have been placed under a burn ban because of the hot, dry weather until further notice.

Anderson, Atchison, Barton, Bourbon, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark, Clay, Decatur, Edwards, Ellsworth, Ford, Franklin, Graham, Grant, Greenwood, Gove, Hodgeman, Johnson, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Meade, Miami (portion under Johnson County Fire District No. 2), Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stevens, Thomas, Trego and Wyandotte counties have all instituted a ban.

The burn ban in unincorporated Johnson County went into effect on Monday. Using, selling or even possessing fireworks in almost all cities in the county is illegal.

Johnson County Sheriff's deputies will be patrolling and issuing fines from $25 to $100 for anyone caught using of selling fireworks. Anyone found violating the burn ban will face up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Olathe, Overland Park, Leawood, Merriam, Lenexa, Gardner, and Shawnee have also instituted burning bans within their city limits. Residents can still use barbecue grills but are urged to be cautious.

Some other Kansas towns have also issued burn bans - which may also prohibit the sale and use of fireworks. State officials urged residents to contact their city and county authorities to find out what has been instituted in their area.

"All it takes is one little spark," said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management in a statement. "Hot conditions like we have with low humidity and gusty winds quickly fan that spark into uncontrolled flames. We urge all Kansans to please obey these burn bans for their own safety and the safety of others."

The burning of refuse is always prohibited in Liberty, Mo. As of Monday, the ban also included bonfires and other recreational fires until further notice.

While fireworks are still permitted, city officials urged residents to exercise good judgment when deciding whether to use them.

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