Ozone Season Starts April 1st
Open burning in certain areas of the state including Wichita is restricted during the month of April. The restriction is the result of state regulations that were enacted on March 1st, 2011. These regulations were issued to address air pollution concerns in urban areas. To comply with the regulations, the Wichita Fire Department (WFD) will enforce an open burning ban during April. The WFD has notified 2011 burn permit holders of this rule.
Effective April 1st, no new burn permits will be issued and all previously issued burn permits will be suspended until at least May 1st, 2011. No live fire training or the use of decorative outdoor chimineas will be permitted during this time frame.
This ban does not include outdoor cooking appliances, ceremonial fires, or open burning for the purpose of crop, range, pasture, and wildlife or watershed management in accordance with K.A.R. 28-19-648.
The state regulations were implemented in response to approval of the Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan. This plan was implemented to address concerns that smoke from Flint Hills agricultural burning during April was impacting urban areas by significantly increasing ozone levels, specifically the Wichita and Kansas City areas.
Ozone is the number one air pollutant problem for the City of Wichita. In April 2009 and April 2010, Wichita experienced one-day events of extremely high levels of ozone due to Flint Hills burning that caused exceedances of the national ozone standard. These high levels have an impact on area health and Wichita’s economy.
Wichita must maintain ozone levels within the federal ozone standards or it and the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Counties of Sedgwick, Harvey, Sumner, and Butler, will face additional federal restrictions. If a monitored area such as Wichita violates the federal ozone standard, a state must recommend it be designated as a “nonattainment” area. Such a designation would be costly for the Wichita MSA and could include many new regulations including new controls for manufacturing and industry, possible limits to highway expansion, regulations to limit vehicle idling as well as a significant administrative regulatory burden for the entire area.