Marion County and Hannibal issue burn ban - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Marion County and Hannibal issue burn ban

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The snow has barely melted, and already the dry grass and high winds are leading to out of control fires.  Hannibal and Marion County officials issued a burn ban Monday after several grass fires over the weekend and other counties may soon follow suit.

Hannibal Rural Fire Department responded to four different grass fires this past weekend, which is one reason the city and county is warning people not to do any outside burning right now.

As Dave Oslica shows where one of the fires broke out over the weekend, he says couldn't believe how quickly it spread.
   
"Well it started out about half an hour it stayed close and then a little bit later on the wind picked up and in the matter of another half an hour it had gotten out of control," Oslica said. 
   
He said the wind and dry ground just fueled the flames.
   
"It was mostly just dry up top.  If you look around, it skimmed the top is what it did. It burnt right on the top, and it never did get down into the duff," Oslica said. 
   
Marion County and Hannibal Emergency Management Director John Hark said issuing burn bans isn't something he typically does in March, but he said something had to be done.

"Everything is still brown and dead out there. The grass and the weeds.  It would take nothing for a spark to get away from anybody and burning amber, and there we go we have another major brush fire," he said. 
   
Hark said the recent burn bans have something to do with the amount of grass fires on Saturday.  While no one was hurt, Hark said he wants to keep it that way. 

"This little bit of breeze right now.  If you had much of a fire right now and get away from you, we could have a fire that could threaten a structure or so, and it's better to be safe then sorry," Hark said.

Hark didn't say how long the burn ban would last.  He said a good rain will go a long way into lifting this ban.  Pike County, Illinois officials are advising residents to avoid burning outdoors through the weekend.
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