Franklin, Jefferson Counties Issue Burn Bans
(Franklin County, Ind.) – Two area counties have joined much of the rest in Indiana in calling for a ban on outdoor burning.
Much of the state is in a drought, with most of southeast Indiana abnormally dry according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Because of the dangerously dry conditions, both Franklin and Jefferson counties have enacted county-wide burn bans until further notice. Seventy-six of Indiana’s 92 counties now have some type of burn ban in effect .
The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners advised residents against burning brush piles or carelessly tossing cigarette butts from their vehicles as dry conditions persist in the county and across the state.
Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Dave Bell told commissioners that if the county does not receive significant rainfall within the next week, township fire chiefs likely will request a ban.
With the Fourth of July approaching, some Indiana counties are restricting the use of fireworks. Even if a county is not prohibiting fireworks, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is still urging Hoosiers to exercise extreme caution.
“In a typical year, there are more fires on July 4 than on any other day of the year,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “With extremely dry conditions pervasive across the state this year, anyone enjoying consumer fireworks needs to do so with a heightened level of caution. As evidenced by the numerous reports of grass and brush fires we have received already, grass and other vegetation in many areas are readily combustible.”
The state fire marshal provides these tips for preventing fireworks-related fires:
• Due to extremely dry conditions this June, some local jurisdictions are restricting the use of fireworks. Contact your city or county board of commissioners, or your local fire department to inquire about what fireworks prohibitions or restrictions may be in effect for your area.
• Discharge fireworks in a clear, open area and never point fireworks toward houses, trees, shrubs, fields, animals or people.
• Monitor wind speed and direction when discharging fireworks to avoid having fireworks devices blown into trees, house roofs, fields, etc.
• After discharging fireworks, retrieve all remnants to prevent smoldering firework materials from igniting a fire.
• Submerge all used fireworks, including spent sparklers, in a bucket of water overnight before discarding.
• Never discharge fireworks without having a fire extinguisher, water hose, or other extinguishing agent readily available.
• When attending professional fireworks displays, Marshal Greeson suggests Hoosiers avoid parking on tall grass, and park on gravel, concrete or asphalt whenever possible.
For more fireworks safety tips or information about dry weather safety, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.
Larry Duke contributed to this story.