BERLIN — Unseasonably warm and dry weather have resulted in persistent drought conditions across the Lower Shore, forcing officials in Worcester and Wicomico counties this week to issue a ban on most outdoor burning for an indefinite period.
On Monday, Worcester County Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon issued a burn ban on outdoor burning for an indefinite period of time in Worcester County. All current burn permits have been rescinded until further notice.
The ban applies to all outdoor ignition sources, with the following exceptions: proper use of gas and charcoal grills, campfires at the county’s commercial, state and federal campgrounds; permitted official Ocean City bonfires; private property recreational campfires that are limited to a fire area of two feet with a height of three feet; public fireworks displays; and official volunteer fire company training exercises.
“Due to the county’s recent drought conditions and the forecast for a continued drought, the burn ban is effective immediately,” McMahon said. “This ban should reduce the number of out-of-control outside fires, which cause safety concerns for area residents, visitors and especially responding personnel.”
On Tuesday, Wicomico County Executive Richard Pollitt, Jr. followed suit with his own burn ban effective immediately, following the advice of the county’s burn ban committee.
“I suggest citizens keep a garden hose and fire extinguisher nearby while using their gas or charcoal grills or enjoying a recreational fire,” he said. “Also, all fires should be completely extinguished and should never be left unsupervised.”