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Drought prompts county burn ban

Four surrounding counties in Indiana have issued burning bans in the last two days.

Posted on June 15, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 15, 2012 at 5:33 p.m.

Elkhart County issued a burn ban on Friday and officials are urging people not to light fireworks.

The Elkhart County Department of Emergency Management announced the ban, which was prompted by the recent lack of rain. Officials signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency for the county.

The burn ban will remain in effect until 9 a.m. June 22, depending on the conditions.

Under the burn ban, campfires and other open recreational fires are prohibited. Open burning using wood or other combustible materials is also not allowed. County residents may not set fire to other debris, including timber and vegetation. Charcoal and propane-fueled grills may be used.

Burning is limited to barrels with a 1/4-inch mesh top, and must be done between dawn and dusk.

Authorities also discourage residents from setting off fireworks during the emergency.

Goshen residents can only set off fireworks between June 29 and July 9, according to a press release from Mayor Allan Kauffman. “Fireworks in the Goshen city limits are not permitted at this time,” it said.

If the ban is still in effect after June 29, fireworks wouldn’t be allowed, Kauffman said.

Five neighboring counties — St. Joseph, Marshall, LaGrange, Noble and Kosciuscko — have also issued burn bans because of the dry conditions.

Michael Pennington, deputy director of emergency management, said he spoke with local fire departments to gauge the need for a burn ban. Departments have been receiving emergency calls related to open fires.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office also issued a statement, asking residents to take extreme caution and care when discharging fireworks.

The Fire Marshal’s Office recommends doing the following when burning fireworks:

Ÿ Discharge fireworks in a clear, open area and never point fireworks toward houses, trees, shrubs, fields, animals or people.

Ÿ Monitor wind speed and direction when discharging fireworks to avoid having fireworks devices blown into trees, house roofs, fields, etc.

Ÿ After discharging fireworks, retrieve all remnants to prevent smoldering firework materials from igniting a fire.

Ÿ Submerge all used fireworks, including spent sparklers, in a bucket of water overnight before discarding.

Ÿ Never discharge fireworks without having a fire extinguisher, water hose or other extinguishing agent readily available.


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