As a visitor to the Ramsey County Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 15, Lee Gessner was representing the Devils Lake Rural Fire Department.

As a visitor to the Ramsey County Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 15, Lee Gessner was representing the Devils Lake Rural Fire Department.

Gessner expressed his concern about wild fires under the current conditions in the Devils Lake basin. He said that rural fire had fought a huge fire this past weekend in Pelican Township, involving over 1,200 acres. After figuring the 18.5 hours it took to control that burn and all the man and equipment hours, the cost was something upwards of $25,000.

He asked the commissioners to find a way to emphasize how terribly dry it has been and to reinforce to farmers and other residents the importance of letting the fire department know if you are planning to burn crop residue or cattails, especially if it is within a mile of a highway.

After hearing Gessner’s concerns and discussing that the state has issued a “Red Flag Warning” so residents would be more cautious when burning in open areas, Ramsey County Commissioners went one step further Tuesday declaring a ban on all open burning until and when enough rain comes to alleviate the conditions that exist across the county. Commission President Adam Leiphon will make that determination and was given the power to lift the ban, if the area gets enough rain, which is forecasted for later this week.

All open-flame burning is now banned in the county until the ban is lifted. A fine could be levied against anyone who violates this ban.