The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 30, 2013

Residents may apply for burning permit online

EDMOND — Edmond residents needing to obtain a burning permit may now do so via the Internet, a city official said.

As part of their fire prevention strategy, cities ask residents and businesses wanting to do a controlled burn to apply for a burning permit. Generally speaking counties, cities and local fire districts have their own restrictions on open burning.

Examples of outdoor or open burning include using a burn barrel, burning yard debris, burning construction or demolition debris, burning in incinerators that do not meet emission limits and burning stumps to clear land. Officials want to know who will supervise the burn, where it will occur and when it will occur.

Edmond allows open burning of yard brush and land clearing operations only. Only brush, tree limbs and shrubs may be burned. All open burning sites must have an approved burn permit.

Edmond Fire Prevention Chief Mike Barnes said in the past the city had a 30-day burning permit process and after that a follow-up permit would be written. Barnes said after he became fire prevention chief he wanted to make that process more customer friendly.

“Asking a person to come into the station every 30 days to get a permit was pretty intrusive on their time,” he said.

One of Barnes’ ideas was to put the burning permit application process online, which applicants can do from the comfort of home. As soon as an application form is submitted online, the fire department is notified. Officials review it to make sure it is filled out correctly. If an issue is discovered, an official will call the applicant and let them know about it, Barnes said.

Regarding residential burn permits only, citizens can call after they receive the permit numbers, Barnes said. They will hear a pre-recorded message and if authorized they can begin burning, Barnes said.

In the past, citizens would have to call and speak to an individual, Barnes said. During weekends, a battalion chief might have numerous calls, leading to, say, a two-hour delay before the official could reply to the citizen, Barnes said.

In Edmond, residents and businesses cannot burn until three hours after sunrise, and they have to stop adding fuel three hours before sundown, Barnes said. All related fires must be extinguished by sundown to prevent city crews from responding to false fire calls, Barnes said.

Regarding commercial burning, the city will continue to stay with the 30-day permit, Barnes said.

“The reason for that is related to a new device that they have to use,” he said.

The device, an air curtain incinerator, is a safe and clean method of burning. It is allowed to operate nearly any time of year except when fire danger is too high, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forest Service. In addition to burning safely and cleanly, volume reductions of about 95-98 percent are achieved. The ash may be used as a soil amendment that can be spread on the forest floor.

Barnes said the device speeds up burning of piles of wood such as those from areas being cleared off properties like those near the Interstate 35-Covell interchange. The products being burnt put out very little smoke if any at all.

Presently, many contractors are trying to locate these devices, Barnes said. The city will continue to send an officer out to commercial sites for awhile to inspect it to make sure site requirements are being met, he said.

Eventually, due to the efficiency of the air curtain incinerator, commercial burning will likely be amended to 24 hours, Barnes said. Since the machines are so costly to own and use, the city wants to let users burn as much as they can during daytime hours, he said.

Officials now also monitor federally mandated air quality alerts, which prevent outdoor burning, Barnes said.

FOR MORE information about burning permits, regulations or safety guidelines visit edmondok.com or call the Edmond Fire Department administration office at 216-7303 during normal business hours Monday–Friday.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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