A new Missouri law gives counties the authority to enact burn bans. The measure was part of an omnibus bill signed by the Governor.
Last year brush fires charred a thousand acres in Newton County. Officials there say countywide bans will help prevent unnecessary brush fires, many of which start from people burning trash.
Last year Newton County commissioners tried to ban burning through an emergency declaration but it had no enforcement power.
The new law does.
"It gives the county the ability to establish a penalty if someone doesn't follow the order and the penalty can be up to a Class A Misdemeanor," says Newton County Emergency Management Director Gary Roark.
Roark says that would allow them the opportunity to impose a fine of up to $1,000 and/or one year in jail.
The new law takes effect at the end of August.
County commissioners would pass ordinances that would require some approval by the state fire marshals office.