Burn ban will remain in place over holiday
MARSHALL CO. — The county-wide burn ban first put in place nearly a month ago and revised to specifically prohibit fireworks last week will remain in effect for Independence Day festivities this Wednesday, said Marshall County commissioners Monday morning in their regularly scheduled meeting.
Marshall County Emergency Management director Clyde Avery told commissioners that he had emailed local fire chiefs over the weekend and asked for their opinion on whether to lift the burn ban. The majority responded that the burn ban should be kept in place. Some suggested modifications, such as Mark Dean with the Argos Fire Department, who recommended lifting the ban on public displays of fireworks but keeping the ban for consumer use of fireworks. Culver fire chief Mike Grover recommended lifting the burn ban completely.
“As of Saturday, we have received between a half inch and six-tenths of an inch (of rainfall) in some areas of the county,” said Avery. “We are still two inches below normal just for the month of June.”
Avery also said that he had received information of three public displays of fireworks that had been canceled due to the burn ban at Plymouth Speedway, Pretty Lake, and Culver Academy. The display planned for the Bremen Fireman’s Festival Wednesday will still go on.
“Unfortunately, Bremen got the least amount of rain out of everybody,” commented commissioner Greg Compton.
Avery said that although there are chances for rain in the next few days, including a 30 percent chance Wednesday, the high temperatures will keep the ground mostly dry. He added that all of Marshall County is currently in extreme or severe drought conditions.
Compton asked Avery if, in his opinion, the commissioners should consider lifting the ban on public displays of fireworks. Avery responded, “That’s not my area of expertise. That’s why I’ve asked the fire chiefs. They are the ones risking their lives to fight these fires.”
Commissioner Jack Roose suggested that they simply leave the burn ban in place exactly like it is, since most residents of the county seemed to be following it so far. Avery did note that the sheriff’s department had issued a citation Saturday for a large bonfire in Polk Township. He also said that he had received notice from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the state fire marshal that local entities are permitted to restrict firework use in their communities for safety reasons. After more discussion, commissioners agreed to leave the burn ban in place until further notice. Under the current ban, the following activities are prohibited:
• Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood, or other combustible materials with the exception of grills fueled by charcoal briquettes or propane (charcoal from permitted grills should be thoroughly extinguished before being removed from the grill);
• The burning of debris, such as timber, or vegetation, and other such debris that results from building construction activities;
• Campfires and other recreational fires;
Violators could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor which, if convicted, is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000. In addition, the individual may be billed for all costs associated with the emergency response.