People are upset after prescribed burn


Decatur, Ill. (WCIA) —

“Its horrible. The City of Decatur has basically bullied the small township out here for years,” Don Floyd, Oakley Township Board Member, said.

People in Oakley Township say they’ve had enough. A prescribed burn happened earlier today in Decatur and that pushed Oakley Township board members over the edge.

The City of Decatur owns a 529 acre site in Oakley Township. They pumped Lake Decatur dredged sediment into it. Oakley Township board members say they didn’t want the burn to happen.

“For the city to bully us the way they have, its really sad,” Floyd said.

A prescribed burn took place on the east side of Decatur. Smoke and flames were seen from miles away. Those nearby were concerned.

“The City of Decatur did not notify any of the neighbors over there,” Floyd said.

Don Floyd, an Oakley Township board member, says this shouldn’t have even happened. The board voted 5-0 last May against it. Then board members got a letter the day before saying the burn was scheduled for Thursday.

“We voted not to have the burn. City of Decatur you can’t even burn leaves in there and then they’ve come behind our back,” Floyd said.

The city of Decatur says the burn was necessary.

“One of the most ecologically friendly and cost effective options is to do a prescribed burn,” Keith Alexander, Water Production Manager for the City of Decatur, said.

“One of the most ecologically friendly and cost effective options is to do a prescribed burn,” Alexander said.

They said it was under control.

“The city did received the required permit, and the burn was performed by a local government agency that has many years of experience doing controlled burns in large areas of Macon County,” Alexander said.

The fire did stay in the correct area, but a train had to stop because it couldn’t see past the heavy smoke.

“This was a controlled burn that happened literally for just a few hours. We probably won’t do it again for another year,” Alexander said.

Floyd says the city has been ignoring them for years.

“They’ve come out here and bullied us with the ideas that they can do anything they want to. Promise us everything and do nothing,” Floyd said.

The City of Decatur says they are hoping to keep the peace.

“The city is still very interested in working with Oakley Township and the Macon County board and other stakeholders to make sure that that reclamation project is for the good of all of us,” Alexander said.

The Oakely Township Board gave us documentation of the messages saying May 13th of last year, they voted not to have the burn.

The Oakley Township Board said they have been dealing with problems with the city for a few decades now. Late this evening, they told us one problem they have is with a ridge the city put in. They say it created a ditch, which floods people’s basements when it rains. They say the city did nothing about it.

WCIA will be reaching out to the City of Decatur to check up on that.

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