Monroe County Remains Under Burn Ban Despite Rain

Even though Monroe County has received rain, it is not enough to lift the burn ban.

fire ashes

Photo: Lyn Mores (Flickr)

Monroe County residents are not allowed to have open fires under the burn ban.

Monroe County officials say even a heavy downpour early Thursday morning isn’t nearly enough to lift the county’s burn ban.

Emergency Management Director Jim Comerford says it is important to note that the entire county did not receive the significant rain that parts of the city of Bloomington did. And even more important, he says, is the rate at which any precipitation evaporates.

“Just getting one big rain doesn’t solve the issue,” Comerford says. “We’ll have to look at it and see what reaction is to [the precipitation] after it.”

Comerford says even if the whole county were to receive a couple inches of rain, it’s likely that the Monroe County Fire Chief’s Association – which has the final say on whether and how long bans are active – would take as much as a couple weeks to decide how the ground is reacting.

Comerford says he is one of the people waiting anxiously for the rule to be lifted.

“I’ve got a burn pile of my own at home that I’ve made from cleaning the woods,” he says. “I’m just waiting, but I’ll wait until we decide it’s safe to do it.”

Comerford says conference calls including his office and officials from the National Weather Service cast doubt on whether the ban will be lifted before autumn.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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