Missouri County Burn Ban Law

image of fire in the woods

Effective Aug. 28, 2013, Missouri counties will be able to establish and enforce burn ban ordinances when the state fire marshal determines weather conditions make such action appropriate. On July 12, Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law House Bill 28, which included the burn ban provision.

Under the legislation, found in section 49.266.3, RSMo, a county opting to adopt a local burn ban may include in its ordinance a penalty of up to one year in jail for anyone violating the ordinance. County burn bans may also prohibit the use of skyrockets and missiles, but not other consumer fireworks.

According to the law, the state fire marshal may determine that a burn ban is appropriate when the U.S. Drought Monitor has designated a county as an area of severe, extreme or exceptional drought and “an actual or impending occurrence of a natural disaster of major proportions within the county jeopardizes the safety and welfare” of the inhabitants of the county. For more information on current drought conditions for your area, visit the current Missouri page of the Drought Monitor.

The legislation came one year after Missouri experienced one of the driest summers on record, with much of the state enduring extreme drought conditions.

State Fire Marshal Randy Cole said the Division of Fire Safety will work closely with local fire agencies to ensure that county officials understand the new law’s provisions. “In 2012, Missouri experienced numerous brush fires and wildfires that destroyed thousands of acres,” Cole said. “Prevention is key to fire safety, and enabling counties to enforce burn bans when conditions are dangerous will help protect the safety of Missourians and their property.”