LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you want to burn outside Lake Charles city limits it's now going to cost you. The Lake Charles Fire Prevention Bureau has started charging a fee for burn permits.
Last year the Lake Charles Fire Department responded to more than 600 of grass and trash fires outside the city limits in Ward 3.
"In 2010 we responded to over 600 fires in Ward 3, but we only issued 159 burn permits, so the majority of our calls within that area have been for the burning without a permit," explained Chief T.A. Jones.
Jones said because of the increase in fires and disregard of getting a permit, they've started charging a fee this month.
"We've actually been able to charge this fee for four years under a city ordinance, but this is the first time we are doing so. It's a $20 administrative fee and a $10 permit fee and the total would be $30," said Jones.
The burn permit is good for six months, given we don't have a burn ban in place. But according to Jones not everyone will qualify for a permit. The property must meet inspection.
"If I get a permit would you all put out the jumpers or anything else that happens," asked Councilman Dana Carl Jackson.
Jones said they'll respond, but ultimately the responsibility to monitor the fire is up to the property owner. Burning hours are from 8 a.m. to dusk.
"You must maintain and have some type of fire protection: a water hose or water or a tractor in that location while you are burning. You can't leave it by itself," said Jones.
Bottom line Jones said it comes down to a control and safety issue: "With permits we know what's taking place, who is burning and what they are burning. But without a permit issued we can end up having fires all over the place."
If caught burning without a permit - you could face up to a $500 fine or six months in jail.
To inquire about a burn permit you can call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 491-1368. You can also call that same number to find out if a burn ban is in effect.