Because of dry conditions and stiff winds, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern issued an executive order Sunday banning open burning anywhere in the county. This order will remain in effect until April 1.
Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour said that an existing city ordinance already bans open burning anywhere in the city except by special permit. However, he said the executive order will put the so-called "bonfire permits" on hold.
On Sunday afternoon, the Belleville Fire Department responded to a brush and grass fire next to a house on Cedar Mt. Rd., Pour said. There were no injuries or damage.
Kern, in his written order, said, "Local fire departments have responded to nearly 200 brush related fires in the month of March in St. Clair County. These fires have caused damage to multiple structures, vehicles and other property to county residents and businesses."
The order does not pertain to cooking fires in proper receptacles like an outdoor fireplace or patio barbecue.
St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson and Emergency Management Director Herb Simmons joined Kern in issuing the order.
All open burning is banned with the exception of, "recreational fire pits and cooking devices," the order stated.