ROBESON PA – A ban on open burning in Berks County that was to have remained in effect until May 15 has been withdrawn by the county Board of Commissioners, the Robeson Police Department reported to township residents Tuesday (April 25, 2023). Recent rainfall has lessened dry conditions that prompted the ban, it said.
The countywide ban had been placed into effect April 16 (Sunday) by commissioners. At the time, the county was among several Pennsylvania municipalities that stopped all outside or open burning due to fire risks posed by dry weather.
Pennsylvania regulations define open burning as the out-of-doors “ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material (garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter, paper, vegetative matter involved with land clearing, or any sort of debris) … either in a burn barrel or on the ground.”
The board’s decision to rescind the ban “was taken under recommendation” of a district forester from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the police department said. The forester advised “it was his opinion that conditions in the last few days and those forecast over the next week” supported the decision.
- Read an earlier story (below), published April 20 (Thursday) by The Post, about burn bans imposed by several local municipalities.
Burn Bans in Lower Frederick, Schwenksville, Berks County
LOWER FREDERICK PA – Burn bans are now in effect in Lower Frederick Township and Schwenksville Borough, municipalities primarily served by the Lower Frederick Fire Company.
The bans in both municipalities officially began April 13 (2023, Thursday) under orders from their appointed fire marshals, and remain in place until revoked.
Pennsylvania regulations define open burning as the out-of-doors “ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material (garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter, paper, vegetative matter involved with land clearing, or any sort of debris) … either in a burn barrel or on the ground.” Bans forbid all such burning “to protect life, property, and natural resources from wildfire,” the state said.
Using propane or gas stoves, charcoal briquette grills, or the use of tobacco in any form generally is not covered under a ban, but can be if specifically stated.
Schwenksville’s open burning ordinance and its requirements are available online.
The borough and township join a growing number of communities statewide that halted all outside or open burning due to fire risks posed by dry weather. Some did so under guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the National Weather Service.
The National Wildfire Assessment System, a U.S. Forest Service mapping tool used to geographically determine and display fire risks, as of Wednesday (April 19) showed the risk in the greater Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas to be “moderate.” In most of the state’s interior counties it was considered “low.”
However, a burn ban across all of Berks County took effect Sunday (April 16) and remains in effect until May 15, the conservation department reported. A similar ban affecting all of York County also began April 13, and currently lasts until May 12, it added.
“Ninety-eight percent of the wildfires in Pennsylvania are a direct result of people’s actions, and place emergency responders directly in harm’s way,” according to the conservation department. “They also tie up emergency responders and apparatus that serve the community in the event of traffic accidents, house fires, and other emergencies.”
Photo by Siim Lukka on Unsplash, used under license