Penalty for Burning Without Permit

Lincoln, NE-- In March alone, 10/11 reported at least two dozen grass fires, and many of them were caused by a burn pile or a cigarette butt.

Fire officials said because of dry and windy conditions, it’s important for people to know not to burn anything. Usually, people out in the county would be able to apply for a burn permit, but officials said they have not released any for weeks.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said the current penalty for burning without a permit is zero to $500.

“If someone is going to have a burn pile,” Wagner said, “[they] need a permit from their local fire chief.”

Wagner said the sheriff’s office cites people often; but, even with the tickets, he said people still burn without permits.

“A burn barrel or a fire pit is legal,” Wagner said, “but are they wise?

“The answer is no. If it gets out of control, the damage would be a question to be answered by the insurance companies or the courts.”

10/11 spoke with multiple insurance agents that said if a situation like this were to happen, check your insurance policy and see who is liable. According to them, every case is different.

And as far as the penalty’s effectiveness, Wagner said it works and stops some people from burning.


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