April brings burn ban impacting 16 Kansas counties

The ban, set to start April 1, carries on through the end of the month.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 12:09 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - This weekend marks the start of April as well as the start of a burn ban that will be taking place in 16 Kansas counties, including Butler and Sedgwick. The ban, set to start April 1, carries on through the end of the month.

Butler County Fire District 3 Fire Chief Kevin Webster explained the reason for the widespread ban.

“Farmers out in the Flint Hills, they have to burn pastures every year to improve their grazing, and that creates a lot of smoke, and that typically blows over the Wichita area,” he said.

The burn ban is part of the Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan.

“While that burning is going on out in the Flint Hills, we want to reduce the burning in other areas around the Flint Hills, those 16 counties, so those smoke levels will stay at an acceptable level during that time period when those Flint Hills pastures are being burnt” Webster said.

He said the EPA has air quality monitoring around Wichita and it increases during the maximum levels during the month of April. Webster also said you can still burn pastureland for agricultural use but shouldn’t burn brush piles during the ban. This is to reduce pollution.

Webster said if the burn ban isn’t followed, the EPA could enact rules to have vehicles inspected to make sure they meet emission levels. This would require each vehicle to have a sticker if it meets the requirements.

“That’s something we don’t want to see out here in the Midwest is to have to spend time that time and money and effort to go get your vehicle inspected every year,” Webster said.

He said air quality for April should be alright in Kansas “if people cannot burn and keep those pollution levels down while those farmers are burning those thousands of acres in the Flint Hills, which needs to happen.”