Man's decision to burn unwanted mobile home could lead to fines

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Fire chief shares advice in legal, illegal open burns

By Shannon Brock

The Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department responded to a report of a fire on Murray Road on Saturday, but they didn’t find an ordinary fire.
This fire had been set intentionally, yet not maliciously, but still illegally.
The owner of a mobile home located at 1304 Murray Road decided to dispose of the residence by attempting to burn it as a controlled burn.
However, the burning of drywall, insulation and carpeting, all which could be inside a mobile home, and the burning of buildings themselves is illegal, according to the Kentucky Division for Air Quality.
Violators can be fined up to $25,000 per day per violation of the law.
Fire Chief Nathan Nation said the department extinguished the fire and turned over the investigation to the Division of Air Quality.
Nation said the property owner could face fines, and that it is common for those fines to be equivalent to the cost the property owner would have paid to dispose of the mobile home in a legal fashion.
The mobile home should have been torn down and either buried on site or hauled to an approved landfill, Nation said.
In light of Saturday’s incident, and given that Fire Hazard Season began Monday and runs through Dec. 15, Nation said now is the time to educate the community on the state’s burn laws.
Burning the following materials in an open burn is illegal:
•Home and farm - animal bedding, hay, muck piles (horse manure/hay), grass clippings and agricultural plastic.
•Construction - asbestos materials, construction debris, renovation debris, shingles, buildings, demolition debris and drywall.
•Household garbage - animal or vegetable matter, plastic, coated paper products, cans and glass.
•Wood materials - fence posts, sawdust, wood mulch, painted, stained or pressure-treated wood, pallets, wood chips, wood shavings and all wood building materials.
•Miscellaneous - chemical containers, insulation, carpeting, tires, coated wire, furniture, rubber, used oil and waste from industries, businesses, schools, churches and farms.
Certain items are legal for open burning, but regulations must still be followed.
During fire hazard season, burning within 150 feet of any woodland area is allowed only between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Burns should not be within 50 feet of any structure. Burns should not be near any landfill, stream or sinkhole, or utility lines. And burns should not take place on windy days.
Items on the legal open burning list are:
•Agriculture - plant beds and tobacco curing.
•Land management (onsite only) - leave and weeds, storm debris (tree limbs), natural growth from land clearing and natural land management.
•Construction site warming fires - contained in a 55-gallon drum (maximum), clean lumber only and only when the air temperature is below 50 F.
•Miscellaneous - camp fires (cured/seasoned wood), ceremonial bonfires, cooking and uncoated household paper and cardboard products.
If you are planning a legal open burn, notify local officials by calling dispatch at 477-5533.
Nation stressed that not all burns reported to dispatch are legal. Dispatchers’ only responsibility in this case is to take your information, Nation said. A reported burn can still be deemed an illegal burn.
If you suspect a burn is illegal, call the open burn hotline at 1-888-BURN-LAW (or 1-888-287-6529).
For more information, visit forestry.ky.gov or air.ky.gov.

—Information in this article was provided by the Kentucky Division of Air Quality and the Kentucky Division of Forestry.