ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The Allen County Commissioners voted to extend the burn ban for another seven days.
The decision was made Friday morning at their meeting. Thursday night’s rain was not enough to quench the ground’s thirst and the National Weather Service has maintained severe drought status for the region.
Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters (R) says the commissioners work with fire officials from throughout the Allen County area to determine whether a burn ban should be in place.
Peters says he has also fielded at least one call from a farmer who has seen little crop growth. The farmer explained to Peters that it would be devastating to lose what little growth has been gained during the drought as the result of a flicked cigarette butt or firecracker. Peters says farmers’ roles in the Allen County community cannot be understated, and he believes protecting them and the rest of the community is a necessity right now.
“This gentleman had like 400 acres, and if you can imagine how big 400 acres is, that is a lot of farm land and to wipe it out with just one cigarette butt or one errant firework would just be absolutely horrible to him, and it hurts the folks in Allen County. I mean we maintain a lot of our wealth in this community through the farmers.”
Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Jim Murua, of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, says his department will work with the Fort Wayne Police Department to enforce components of the ban. The ban prohibits bon and camp fires and the burning of things like trash and brush. Murua also reminds residents that regardless of the burn ban, in the City of Fort Wayne, fireworks are illegal except for five days prior to and five days after the July 4 holiday.
In addition to possible fines that residents can face for lighting fireworks, he says residents who light fireworks and cause damage to a neighbor’s house or yard could be arrested.
“If your fireworks go out of your yard and happen to go into somebody else’s yard, or up on their house, or in their gutters, obviously it can create a fire. You can get a fine. You can get a criminal mischief charge. Or if it actually damages property, you can get a felony charge.”
The commissioners will revisit the burn ban next Friday.
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