Effective immediately, no outdoor burning will be allowed within the city limits, in accordance with state law (K.A.R. 28-19-645). Residents may continue to use outdoor cooking grills.
Open burning in certain areas of the state, including Wichita, is restricted during the month of April as a result of state regulations enacted in 2011. The regulations were issued to address air pollution concerns in the region. The Wichita Fire Department (WFD) will enforce the burning ban and has notified 2012 burn permit holders of this rule. The state regulations were implemented in response to the approval of the Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan. The plan was implemented to address concerns that smoke from Flint Hills agricultural burning during April was affecting 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 the last three years, Wichita has experienced a one-day event 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. It could include many new regulations including new controls for manufacturing and industry, limits to highway expansion, further regulations to limit vehicle idling and pose a significant administrative regulatory burden for the entire area. For additional information about the Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan and state regulations on open burning, go to wichita.gov and click on the Air Quality link. You can also visit www.ksfire.org. For more information regarding the burning ban, please contact Fire Marshal Brad Crisp (268-4466) or Kay Johnson with Environmental Initiatives (268-4251).
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