Home Mailbag: Why did it take so long for Augusta County to lift its burn ban?

Mailbag: Why did it take so long for Augusta County to lift its burn ban?

Chris Graham
(© Fernando Astasio Avila – Shutterstock)

Do you have any idea why the Augusta County Board of Supervisors has not lifted the burn ban as all other localities have?

– Jim Craig

‘Tis odd, that our neighboring localities – Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg/Rockingham, Charlottesville/Albemarle – all lifted their burn bans last week, but it took until last night for Augusta County to lift its ban.

That it took what felt like an act of Congress to get the ban in Augusta County lifted was referenced by long-time Middle River Supervisor Gerald Garber at last night’s BOS meeting.

“We have been blessed with a little rain, for which I hope everybody else eternally grateful. Which caused me to ask county administrator why everybody around us lifted the burn ban, and we didn’t, and he said, Well we didn’t meet till tonight. Which caused me to ask why the rest of them could do that,” Garber said.

The answer that he got back from County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald: they operate under different rules.

“Our thing says we’ve got to decide that, which is striking me as just sort of beyond stupid, because the weather changes on a dime, it rains three inches or the wind gets out of the south, and it gets real dry,” Garber said.

Garber then made a motion to lift the burn ban, which passed 7-0, then made a second motion to direct the staff to draft up a new ordinance that would allow the county a bit more flexibility on burn bans in the future.

That motion also passed 7-0.

So, good news, apparently – the board, assuming they don’t change their minds between now and then, will at some point soon amend the “beyond stupid” burn ban law currently on the books.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].