PLYMOUTH — Although many area yards had a crouton-like look and feel over the last six weeks, it has been a lucky summer for Marshall County and much of Northern Indiana.
Currently 54 Indiana counties were locked into active burn bans, while Marshall County entered fall without making the sizable list.
“You look at the map and its almost all directly south of us, besides Lake and Porter counties,” Plymouth Fire Chief Andy Metsker said. “It’s been one of those summers where it’s been just wet enough. And, people have been careful and doing the right things so that we haven’t had anything major in our area.”
According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, burn bans — restrictions on outdoor burning activities — are ordered by local chiefs like Metsker or their legislative body, city, town or county. Chiefs are obligated to decide what burning will or will not be allowed, and how long a ban lasts.
“Decisions are made based on all of the information that we get, from the Indiana State Fire Marshall’s Office and other avenues,” Metsker said.
To check current burn ban status, citizens can call their local fire department or log on to www.in.gov/dhs/files  /burn-ban/.
Regardless of conditions, two times of the year constitute burning busy seasons, with one fast approaching.
“Typically early spring and late fall bring off things and trash from the winter out in the township,” Metsker said. “Since there is a burning ban ordinance inside the city of Plymouth, we don’t have any problems there. There are only recreational type burns allowed there.”
More prevalent than actual danger in the fall is the inconvenience burning activities can cause.
“Outside the city limits you can have issues neighbor-to-neighbor with burning of leaves, where someone wants to open their windows and the folks next door or down the road are burning,” Metsker said. “It’s more bothersome than anything.”
Throughout Indiana, trash cannot be burned due to the potential adverse affects on the environment and the population. Burning wood and related byproducts is fine, with proper discretion.
Metsker indicates local residents are good at using common sense.
“Most of the time they’re very careful about it,” Metsker said. “Rainy and low-wind days are great. You just have to pay attention to conditions, and the previous day’s conditions are very important, too.”
Outside of recreational activities such as campfires and bonfires, citizens are required to burn during daylight hours. If a large burn is needed, they are asked to contact their local sheriff’s department.
“That’s necessary so we aren’t dispatched to things that aren’t an emergency,” Metsker said.