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Penalties added to burn law to prohibit unauthorized burning

The Osage Nation is prohibiting burns on its jurisdictional property without a burn permit after the Fifth Osage Nation Congress voted to amend its criminal law, which includes penalties for those who violate the law.

During the Tzi-Zho Session, the Congress unanimously approved a bill (ONCA 16-78 sponsored by Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt) that creates a new “Unlawful Burning Without a Permit” section in the Crimes Against Property code. Violators under this new law are people who burn debris/ trash without a permit and those who burn on no-burn days due to unfavorable and hazardous weather conditions.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed the bill into law on Sept. 29, two days after the 12-0 Congressional vote.

According to the new law: “No person shall knowingly set or allow domestic debris burning unless he or she has a valid permit from the Osage Nation … Burning conducted pursuant to each permit must comply with all conditions specified on the permit.” The law states the Nation’s Wildland Fire Management Department shall prepare the burn permit forms and the permits are subject to guidelines and rules/ regulations of the Wildland Fire Department.

Pratt said the new burn permit law applies to lands where the Nation has jurisdiction. She also said she sponsored the bill after meeting with the Wildland Fire Management Department and said the department prepared policies for the new ban permit law.

“I think this will be a good thing for the Wildland Fire program as they try to coordinate better, especially during fire season, with landowners and not having so many false alarms,” Pratt said.

According to the new law regarding burn permits:

  • Each burn permit applicant shall provide information required by the Wildland Fire Management Department for fire protection purposes.
  • Fires solely for cultural or ceremonial purposes do not require a burn permit.
  • Unlawful burning without a permit shall be punishable by jail imprisonment for a term up to three months; or a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for the first offense and up to $3,000 for each subsequent offense or both. Further, any violation of this section shall be subject to damages in an amount equal to and not exceeding the cost of reimbursing all fire responders.  

 

According to the law regarding no-burn days (typically issued during emergency drought conditions):

  • It’s unlawful for a person to set fire to any forest, grass, range, crop or other wildlands, or to build a campfire or bonfire, or to burn trash or other materials that may cause a forest/ grass/ wildland fire in areas where the Nation has jurisdiction when a Wildland Fire Management Department proclamation has been issued prohibiting burning.
  • Any no-burn proclamations issued by the Wildland Fire Management Department shall be effective immediately and must be publicly posted through outlets including the ON government website and local news media outlets.
  • Unlawful burning on no-burn days shall be punishable by a jail term of up to six months; a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for the first offense and up to $3,000 for each subsequent offense or both. Also, any violation of this section shall be subject to damages in an amount equal to and not exceeding the cost of reimbursing all fire responders.

For more information on burn permits or the Wildland Fire Management Department contact Fire Prevention Technician Corbin Malone at (918) 604-9055, contact the office at (918) 287-9767 or email wildlandfire@osagenation-nsn.gov

 

 

 

*This article was edited on Jan. 6 to update information for the Wildland Fire Management Department.

 


By

Benny Polacca


Original Publish Date: 2017-01-05 00:00:00

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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