Dry conditions prompt burn ban throughout Kenosha County

NOW: Dry conditions prompt burn ban throughout Kenosha County

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KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Lack of rain and a series of brush fires have led Kenosha County to declare an immediate end to all outdoor recreational fires.

It’s the first time in more than a decade that the city of Kenosha has joined the entire county with a burn ban. 

A charred field is what’s left after fire torched the grass Tuesday afternoon near 7th Avenue and 80th Street, startling neighbors across the street 

“So I come out here and this was burning. Oh my God, the flames were unbelievable, huge billows of smoke, and I went Oh my God,” said Dennis Frank Houston, Kenosha resident.

Dennis Frank Houston is filled with appreciation for Kenosha firefighters who quickly doused the grass fire before it got out of control.

“And they right away start soaking everything down, but it was burning up 7th Avenue and there’s a house on the hill. If it gets there, buh-bye,” said Houston.

As the city of Kenosha joined other area departments issuing a burn ban until further notice, they were called to help Pleasant Prairie firefighters with one in the sand dunes by the lake.

“So the whole Kenosha County is on a burn ban right now and everybody’s on the same page. It’s until further notice. We’re not gonna lift it just because we got 10 or 15 minutes of rain someday,” said Kenosha Fire Division Chief Guy Santelli.

Division Chief Santelli says that goes for burning leaves, backyard bonfires and fire pits. He also wants smokers to be cautious.

“If you’re a smoker, make sure you put those butts in some type of can, extinguish them, get them wet before you discard them,” said Chief Santelli.

In nearby Racine, the city isn’t issuing a burn ban, but that’s because Racine already has an ordinance that prohibits outdoor recreational burns when the weather is dry. Racine Fire is reminding its residents not to burn anything outdoors right now because it’s just not safe.

As for outdoor cooking, electric, charcoal and gas grills are permitted at this time, but the chief says while they’re lit, don’t take your eyes off of them. Wood burning ovens are not allowed. 

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