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At Least 80 Of State’s 92 Counties Currently Under Burn Bans

The State Fire Marshal says local governments need to communicate better with residents about details of burn bans.

Burn ban

Photo: Paul Bird

Firefighters put out a field fire near Bargersville -- exactly the kind of fire local governments want to avoid by enacting burn bans.

With the hot weather drying out the state, more than 80 counties have issued burn bans. But what those bans incorporate varies county to county.  But the state fire marshal says local governments need to give their citizens more clarity.

There are two types of burn bans Indiana counties can implement: the more common burn bans that fall under the state’s fire code and burn bans under emergency disaster declarations. Emergency disaster declaration burn bans are broader and can prohibit things like fireworks that the regular burn bans can’t.

State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says counties need to spell out exactly what their bans entail.

“Some have eliminated any type of open burning whether it’s a campfire, a grill, be it gas or charcoal,” Greeson says. “Some municipalities you can still burn normal combustible materials in a barrel.  Well, they’ve restricted that, restricted agricultural burning.”

Violating declaration burn bans is a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a fine and possible jail time. Violating the regular burn bans normally just results in a fine.

Greeson says enforcing the burn bans is entirely the responsibility of local law enforcement. And he says typically enforcement relies on complaints and people reporting others for violating the bans.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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