The Berks County Commissioners have issued a temporary ban on outdoor burning throughout the County, based on the recommendation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Berks County Department of Emergency Services. The burn ban will begin Sunday, April 16, at 6 p.m.
The burn ban was recommended by Stephen Wacker, District Fire Warden, at the request of 19 Fire Chiefs and Fire Wardens in Berks County.
The request is due to the existing dry and dangerous burning conditions throughout the County and sub-average rainfall. The combination of those conditions creates a great risk of fire that would require a soaking rain to alleviate the danger.
Wacker noted that the recommendation is also due to the large increase in the number and size of brush and wildfires in Berks in recent days. He added that the rain expected this weekend will likely not be enough to remedy the risk.
Due to these recommendations, the Commissioners have ordered that all open outdoor burning be banned in Berks County for a period of no more than 30 days, beginning April 16 at 6 p.m.
Open burning is defined as the ignition and subsequent burning of any combustible material, which includes garbage, leaves, twigs, wood, litter, paper, vegetative matter, and any sort of debris, outside, either in a burn barrel, backyard fire pit or on the ground.
The use of propane or gas stoves, charcoal briquette grills, and the use of tobacco in any form is not affected by this ban. While the County believes the ban should be universal, the DCNR’s definition of burn ban allows campfires in fire rings that confine and contain the campfire in a designated state, federal or Department of Environmental Protection licensed campground.
The burning ban may be enforced by any sworn police officer, including the Pennsylvania State Police and all police departments of Berks County municipalities.
Any individual that violates this burn ban commits a summary offense that can be punishable with a fine. The County asks all residents to please abide by this ban to help reduce the risk of wildfires and protect our forests and properties.