No Guidelines On Issuing Burn Permits

Josh Egbert

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No Guidelines On Issuing Burn Permits

CREATED Jul. 30, 2013

Omaha, NE- Investigators say they've learned how a controlled burn quickly got out of hand.

Fire officials say a brush fire at 165th and Fort burned too close to a barn and caught fire. Neighbors were worried Monday morning's fire would spread to their new homes.

One man who lives blocks away had soot left on his boat, cars, and home.

The developer had a permit to clear land for an apartment complex.

But the growth of not only the city, but also the country is blurring the lines between rural and urban leading to the question if changes in the permit process need to be made.

The scene of burning brush and trees is familiar to most rural Nebraska residents.

"Any request for burn permits within their jurisdiction goes to the sponsoring department and they decide what the process is." says Douglas County Commissioner Clare Duda.

On Monday, developers received a permit from the city, but neighbors say they were burning too close to homes.

"In that situation it should be up to the fire department whose jurisdiction its in." says Duda.

According to the state fire marshal Ray Nance, there is no rule on how far away buildings need to be from the burn site.

Douglas County Commissioner Clare Duda is a volunteer fire fighter for the Ponca Hills Fire Department. He issues permits for the county, not the city like the one issued Monday, but says he inspects a site before he'll issue permits.

"If we aren't real familiar with what they're doing we'll go out and inspect the site first and make sure that they have adequate safety precautions in place." says Duda.

With Omaha and Douglas County growing everyday and no guidelines on issuing those permits, Duda things changes need to happen.

"They're very well may be some needs to improve processes, have better communications, notify more people when you're going to be doing a burn particularly if it's a large barn." adds Duda.

The fire marshal says the developer that was using the permit Monday was using it correctly so no tickets will be issued.