Open burning is now prohibited in all of Webster County because of the ongoing hot and dry weather, according to fire officials.
The ban includes Fort Dodge, where cooking with grills and smokers will be the only allowable uses of outdoor fire, Assistant Fire Chief Doug Ostbloom said.
The burning ban went into effect at 7 a.m. today at the request of the 13 fire chiefs in the county.
''Collectively, the fire chiefs have agreed we need to have a burning ban,'' said Otho Fire Chief Marty Smith.
Violating the ban could result in an individual being charged with reckless use of fire or disobeying a burn ban, according to an announcement from State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds.
Humboldt, Pocahontas and Wright counties also have burning bans in effect. Statewide, 42 of the 99 counties are under such bans.
Tony Jorgensen, the Webster County emergency management coordinator, contacted all of the county's fire chiefs Wednesday and asked if they saw a need for a burning ban. He said they all agreed to implement a ban.
Jorgensen said the ban will remain in place until the majority of the chiefs agree that enough rain has fallen to significantly reduce the fire risk.
''It looks like it's going to be pretty dry for quite some time,'' he said.
In Fort Dodge, burning trash is illegal and the burning of yard waste is only allowed during a handful of days in the spring and fall that are designated by the City Council. The city's law usually does allow the burning of firewood in fire pits and outdoor fireplaces.
However, Ostbloom, who is the city's fire marshal, said the use of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits will not be allowed while the burning ban is in place. The city's burning rules, he said, have been suspended and replaced with the countywide burning ban.