April burn restrictions return to Flint Hills

Burn restrictions are back in place for Lyon and several counties.

This is the peak of controlled burn season, and once again the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has enacted its now-typical restrictions on certain burning activities. Air Monitoring and Planning Chief Environmental Program Administration Supervisor Doug Watson tells KVOE News the development of the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan followed concerns about air quality exceedances in Kansas City and Wichita.

The restrictions began in 2011 and end most non-essential burns. Exceptions include fires for outdoor cooking like campfires as well as fires for ceremonial purposes. The burn restrictions include 16 counties. On that list are Lyon, Chase, Greenwood, Morris and Wabaunsee counties in the KVOE listening area. 

The restrictions come as KDHE continues discussions with neighboring states about air quality concerns that have developed over time outside of Kansas -- and it also comes as a push is now developing to perhaps begin a second burn season in the fall. Watson encourages ag producers to lengthen the burn season if at all possible to minimize any risk of air quality problems for residents of Kansas and surrounding states.

Recent research by Kansas State and Oklahoma State "show some promise" for controlling invasive species like Eastern red cedar or sericea lespedeza by doing out-of-season burns in the late summer and early fall. Watson says there is evidence those plants can be killed off with the later burns.

For more information, go online to ksfire.org.

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