News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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July 28, 2012

No's still the word on open burning

TERRE HAUTE — A countywide burn ban has been extended for another seven days by the Vigo County Commissioners.

Drought conditions have much of Indiana under similar bans.

The ban includes campfires and other recreational fires unless enclosed in a fire ring, with dimensions of 23 inches in diameter and 10 inches or higher.

It also includes a ban on the burning of debris, such as timber, vegetation, including debris that results from building construction activities.

The ban also includes open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood or other combustible matter.

The countywide ban will remain in effect until noon Friday, at which time it could be again renewed.

The story is somewhat different in other parts of Indiana.

The Associated Press news service reported Friday that several northern Indiana counties where recent storms delivered much-needed rain are lifting countywide burn bans now that vegetation is greening up and reducing the risk of wildfires.

A burn ban that Allen County, one of the state’s most populous counties, imposed June 15 was lifted at noon Friday by order of the county’s commissioners.

Commissioner Nelson Peters said while the action makes it legal to again burn debris outdoors, people should take care to only do so safely.

“It does not mean the drought has come to an end,” Peters told The Journal Gazette. “We’ve got to ensure citizens use common sense.”

Peters said the decision to lift the ban came from a unanimous recommendation from county fire chiefs.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows that nearly all of Indiana is experiencing drought and that one-fifth of the state, including Vigo and nearby counties, is in the worst stage of drought.

But the recent rain has led several of the state’s northern counties to lift their outdoor burn bans, including Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Noble, Wells, Whitley and Steuben counties as well as the city of Angola.

Other counties that have lifted their bans include Benton, Cass, Fulton, Marshall, Pulaski and St. Joseph.

The counties’ lifting of burn bans does not supersede municipal rules on open burning.

In Fort Wayne, for example, that means residents still are barred from burning outdoors and they also can’t set off fireworks. The state’s second-largest city prohibited the use of fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday and that ban lasts at least until Labor Day weekend.

Fort Wayne residents, however, can resume using backyard fire pits.

Other northern Indiana counties still are reviewing whether to lift their bans.

In Adams County, fire chiefs and county commissioners will review the status of the ban Monday, said John August, manager of Adams Emergency Management.

Ed Rock, director of Kosciusko County’s Emergency Management, said the countywide burn ban remains in effect until at least early next week.

“If it doesn’t turn real hot, real quick, the ban may be lifted on Tuesday,” Rock said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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