Despite some weekend rain, persistent drought conditions in southern Indiana have made the area’s dried grass, leaves, timber and row crops a potential tinder box. The Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry urges all residents and visitors to take extra prevention precautions. County commissioners have implemented open-burning bans in Putnam, Bartholomew, Lawrence, Orange, and four other southern Indiana counties. Without significant rainfall, conditions will not improve.
Drew Dailey, the assistant state fire coordinator for the DNR says farmers harvesting crops should be cautious of overheated machinery, which can start fires quickly. Homeowners should clear brush and tall grass from around building foundations, and make sure the roof and gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Barrels used for burning debris should also be covered with a mesh screen and be monitored during burning.