By CARL SMITH
Starkville Fire Department officials say a new process for obtaining residential burn permits eliminates an unneeded step, thus making the act easier for city residents.
Residents are now able to purchase residential burn permits at Station No. 1, which SFD Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy says cut a previous step out of the equation. Last year, he said, residents had to purchase the permit at City Hall, bring their receipt to SFD and then schedule a burn-site inspection with firefighters. Now, McCurdy said residents can even purchase a permit during a scheduled inspection.
“We’ve adjusted the process to make it easier for Starkville’s residents,” McCurdy said. “Right now, people are still accustomed to the old process, but we’re working to get the word out about the changes.”
City code states no person shall kindle or maintain any bonfire or rubbish fire without first obtaining a burn permit. Residential permits, which McCurdy said are the most popular type of burn permit issued by the city, currently cost $3, an increase of $1 over the years.
“The (cost) is not designed to be a money-making fee,” McCurdy said. “Having people follow the permit process allows us to be aware of burns happening in the city and instructs those who choose to burn to do so in a safe, proper manner.”
Residential burn permits cover the clearing of natural vegetation, McCurdy said. Burning trash and waste matter such as plastics or rubber is not allowed. The permits also require a 50-foot distance from a burn site to any structure, allow only one active burn site at a time and require a fire-extinguishing source be present. Burn permits have a seven-day window for completion and can only be executed during daylight hours, Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays.
Commercial burn permits are also available from the city of Starkville but require approval from the board of aldermen. These burns require a minimum property area of 50 acres and heavy equipment capable of extinguishing the fire.
SFD officials reserve the right to cancel any approved burn due to unfavorable conditions. Burn bans may also be issued during drought conditions.