GOSHEN — Indiana has 70 counties with active burn bans, and for the first time in 45 days, Elkhart County is not one of them.
Local leaders cancelled Elkhart County’s ban on open burning Monday morning after a long bout of dry weather. The ban was originally issued in mid June and extended three times by the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners gathered recommendations over the weekend from townships, fire officials and the county’s emergency management department to determine whether to end the burn ban.
Lifting the ban, however, does not mean that county residents can start lighting fireworks left over from the Fourth of July. A county ordinance limits the use of fireworks to 10 days around July 4, on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day. The commissioners said they would consider an exemption to the ordinance that would allow fireworks to be used at a later date.
The burn ban’s cancellation came with a few words of warning from board president Terry Rodino.
“There are still some dry spots throughout the county that are not where we want them to be for a total comfort level, so we just ask people to exercise caution as they start to burn again in Elkhart County,” Rodino said.
Almost 4.5 inches of rain fell in Elkhart County in July compared to 0.86 inches in June, according to AccuWeather. This week’s forecast is expected to include high temperatures in the upper 80s with a slight chance of showers.