Prescribed Burns

Photo Chad Wittenberg
Photo Chad Wittenberg

*This message is from Butler County Emergency Management

So…. burning season is rapidly approaching, and some of you may be planning to conduct a controlled burn (whether a brush pile, ditch or pasture) for the very first time. If you’re wondering how and when to light the match, here are a few things to think about:

  1. Have you called for a permit? Butler County follows a permitting process, which is administered by our three 9-1-1 centers on behalf of the fire districts. Permits are issued only when safe burning conditions exist. Dispatchers and fire chiefs look at things such as forecasted wind speeds and humidity levels to gauge if controlled burns can actually stay “controlled.” The right mix of gusty winds, crispy-dry air and grass, and warm temps can cause fires to grow explosively, putting lives (yours, your neighbors and firefighters) and homes at risk. If your permit request is denied, please understand that this is for everyone’s safety.
  2. Do you have an adequate water supply? If flames start spreading where you don’t want them to go, do you have enough water immediately available to dampen them?
  3. Have you looked at what’s around the pile or space you want to burn? Is there tall grass right by your burn pile? Does that grass extend right up to the side of your house or shed? Are there cedar trees along the ditch you are clearing? When those dry out, they can literally explode into flames.
  4. Look beyond today. A gentle breeze may currently be wafting the smoke away from your house. However, if one of Kansas’ infamous wind-switches happens overnight, that breeze may suddenly become a fierce gale, stoking leftover embers and sending smoke and flames toward your house (or your neighbor’s)…


Some helpful resources: The graphic below is from the NWS’ Fire Weather web page and details the forecasted Grassland Fire Danger Index for the next several days. More fire weather info can be found at:    Additional info on burning rules and regulations, as well as contact info for permits, can be found on the county website:


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