BROOKVILLE — Tuesday the Jefferson County Commissioners signed a 30-day outdoor burn ban for the county. The ban takes effect on Thursday, July 28 at noon.

Emergency Services Director Tracy Zents said the ban was proposed after consultation with the various fire chiefs in the county. “Most of them agreed with the ban,” he said. “This is to protect the firefighters and the residents of Jefferson County.”

Zents said the rainfall in the county is four inches below average for this time of year.

Zents said he has been in contact with the water authorities in the county to monitor the water levels in their communities. He said the only municipality in the county currently under a water restriction is Sykesville which draws its water from the City of DuBois.

The DuBois City Council instituted mandatory water restrictions Thursday, which means water customers must “immediately stop all non-essential water use.”

City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio said the water level at the reservoir is 14 inches below the spillway. It has dropped 4 inches in three days and was just 1 inch below three weeks ago. Year-to-date, precipitation is nearly 10 inches below normal, according to readings recorded at the city’s sewage treatment plant.

“Most of the water authorities indicate they are in pretty good shape,” said Zents. “We will be in contact with them to monitor the situation.”

The state imposed water restrictions in much of the Commonwealth in 1995 and again in 1999. The state mandated water restrictions included nonessential water uses, such as watering lawns, washing cars and filling swimming pools. Restaurants were asked to stop serving water unless a patron asked for it.

Zents said county residents need to be cognizant of the conditions. “This may be hardship but I would ask county residents to be patient,” he said.

“Open burning” is defined as the ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material, including garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter, paper, vegetative matter involved with land clearing or any sort of debris out of doors.

Burning is permitted in a covered burn barrel. The use of propane or gas stoves, charcoal briquette grills or the use of tobacco in any form is not covered under the resolution. Camp fires are allowed in fire rings that confine and contain the camp fire.

A person who violates this act commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to a fine of not more than $100 for the first offense, $200 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense.

In a press release, the commissioner’s said the ban was in accordance with Act 1995-52 of the General Assembly under the recommendation of the District Forester.

For tips on beating the heat or conserving water, call the office of Emergency Services at 849-5052.

The next meeting of the board of commissioners will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 9 in Jefferson Place, Brookville.

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