Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bob Barnes keeps a watchful eye on a small brush fire near his home on C.R.4 north of Elkhart in this undated file photo. Warm weather is encouraging many Elkhart County residents to burn leaves and other brush. (Jennifer Shephard/The Elkhart Truth)
Baugo Township Fire Department, IDEM warn about leaf burning
Posted on April 22, 2014 at 2:20 p.m.

As the weather gets warmer and leaves are still on the ground, some Elkhart County residents are turning to backyard burns to get rid of leaves and brush to prepare for spring and summer landscaping.

Burning of natural products such as leaves, wood and grass, is allowed in Elkhart County, providing that a person is present and controlling the fire at all times and the burning is happening during the daytime, the Baugo Township Fire Department posted on its Facebook page Tuesday morning.

Bristol Fire Dept. 848-4155
Elkhart City Fire Dept. 293-8931
Elkhart Township Fire Dept. 533-4795
Baugo Township Fire Dept. 293-0780
Cleveland Township Fire Dept. 264-5442
Concord Township Fire Dept. 875-9644
Foraker Township Fire Dept. 831-2292
Jefferson Township Fire Dept. 533-0261
Middlebury Fire Dept. 825-1492
Osolo Township Fire Dept. 264-1066
Elkhart County Health Dept. 523-2283

Burning is not allowed during bad weather conditions such as wind or storms, during burn bans or during dry seasons, the post adds. Also, businesses, mobile home parks and apartment complexes are not allowed to burn.

Individual cities may have their own restrictions within city limits.

The Indiana Department of Environment Management says that while burning may be legal, it isn't advisable.

"The smoke from any fire, including clean wood can linger at ground level where family members and neighbors can be affected," its website says. Some residents in Dunlap expressed concerns about outdoor burning in 2013.

Alternatives to burning include creating compost piles and using a wood chipper to create wood chips and mulch.

Before you burn, IDEM recommends contacting the local fire department or health department to make sure you aren't violating any current burn bans or other local laws.

What do you think about outdoor burning? Do you ever burn leaves or brush in your backyard? Do you have any concerns?