What a weekend, Foster County! We had sun, rain, wind, thunderstorms, freezing rain, and snow. If you have any damages, flooding, or loss of livestock, please let us know. The documentation goes up to the state as statistics and dollar amounts. The state gathers this info from the other counties and if it meets the threshold, the Governor can ask for a declaration. It is majorly important that this information gets to me. Your damages matter.
About the Fire Ban:
State radio takes the 911 calls – calls from passersbys who see fire and call 911 – dispatch then notifies the fire department or the county, and if needed, the fire department gets paged out. I go out later and map out the areas and take photos but not for legal purposes. I update State Radio so the fire department doesn’t have to take valuable time calling up when they are on scene. I update State Radio via website or call in, or both. The location and the progress gets sent up to State Radio so, if a passerby calls the fire in, State Radio knows its under control and doesn’t have to page out the fire department for fires that have been previously identified and dealt with. It also shows that extent and if more resources are needed if a burn got too big for one fire department.
I do the same thing for flood damage, wind damage, hail damage, etc. None of it is for legal purposes. I do not have the authority to turn anyone over to the State’s Attorney. I am not law enforcement, my purpose is to go out and get the documentation that the state needs for damage assessments.Not to call in fires or report people. I notify the sheriffs department because all incidents (fires, floods, etc.) get sent up the chain of command. The communication flows upwards and downwards so all are aware of what is going on, situational awareness, not a search for those who may be violating the law. My concern isn’t about burning illegally, its about the safety of our emergency responders.
Since there was a fire emergency declared by the Governor, documenting all fires during that time was necessary. I sent up the fires that were allowable to the Sheriff’s Department and State Radio just so they were aware and know not to dispatch the fire department unless the supervising party called and requested it.
Long story short, if the fire department was paged out, I went out and took photos and location for damage assessment purposes. If it was a burning allowed day, I still sent up location and notified the Sheriff’s Department and the fire department. If the Sheriff’s Department got the call, I was notified and sent the information down to the fire department and State Radio so the fire department didn’t get paged out for a controlled burn on allowable days.
I hope this clears up the reason why I was out. I assure you, it was not to call in and report people. Just gathering documentation for the State for damages.
For future burn bans, we will make sure to get the word out better and in more detail.