~by Chief Steve Egger of the Mena Fire Department
Now that Spring has sprung and citizens are out doing their Spring yard work the Mena Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind the citizens of a few recommendations, laws, and fire safety tips when conducting controlled burns within the city limits of Mena. We encourage citizens to take advantage of the upcoming Spring clean up for city residents scheduled to begin April 23rd. This could be a safer option for many folks that may be considering conducting controlled burns of their yard debris, (leaves and limbs).
For those that recently moved here or do not know, open burning of organic material is allowed in most of the city limits of Mena. The Arkansas State Air Pollution Control Regulation: Section 18.6(B) Prohibits the open burning of waste materials. Specifically it states that: No person shall cause or permit the open burning of refuse, garbage, trade waste, or other waste material, or shall conduct a salvage operation by open burning. Household trash, tires, construction and demolition waste (including lumber and/or wood), etc. are considered waste materials and cannot be burned according to state law. The City of Mena Fire Department adheres to these regulations and those of the Arkansas Fire Prevention Code.
If you plan on burning yard debris in the city limits of Mena we ask that you call the Mena Fire Department and let us know. We could advise you if there was a county wide burn ban in effect or the weather condition may be unfavorable for burning. Unknown to many, there is a part of the downtown commercial district that is referred to as the fire zone where no open burning is allowed. By providing us your address we could advise you if you were in this area.
If your having a recreational fire, bonfire or conducting a controlled burn take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of fire by clearing out around the area where you are burning. Have water or a portable extinguisher available for immediate utilization. Keep in mind that if your controlled burn was to get out you could be held liable for the damage to your neighbors property. Controlled burns must be at least 25-50 feet from any structures and should be attended until the fire is extinguished.
The fire department is authorized to order the extinguishment of open burning that creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation. Be courteous of your neighbors as they may have respiratory issues and can be adversely affected by smoke produced even by organic materials.
It is recommended that controlled burns not be conducted after dark but is not unlawful. Often times we receive calls from neighbors or passersby of a fire out of control simply because they can not see you in the dark in attendance with your controlled burn.
Never use gasoline to ignite your control burn, bonfire, or recreational fire.
Never throw aerosol cans or batteries in to a fire. Be cautious to not fall in to the fire and always watch out for the safety of children around controlled burns.
To report a controlled burn in the Mena City Limits call 479-394-1234; to report a controlled burn out of the city limits call 479-394-2511; to report an emergency call 9-1-1.