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updated: 3/25/2014 7:04 AM

St. Clair County bans open burning

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Associated Press

BELLEVILLE, Ill. -- A southwestern Illinois county is barring outdoor burning until April 1 because of lingering dry and windy conditions.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern issued the directive after local firefighters responded to nearly 200 brush-related fires in March.

There are no immediate reports of injuries linked to those fires.

The order doesn't pertain to cooking fires in proper receptacles such as an outdoor fireplace or patio barbecue.

Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour says an existing ordinance in that city already bans open burning except when there's a special permit for such things as bonfires. Those types of fire also are on hold under Kern's directive.

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