Allen County's ban on outdoor burning will be lifted at noon Friday – about six weeks after it was first imposed in response to abnormally dry conditions.
Although recent rains have lessened the danger of fire, the County Commissioners today said residents should continue to use caution when burning anything outdoors. The Commissioners imposed the ban June 15 at a time when nearly 90 percent of the state was abnormally dry. Even as recently as Wednesday, burn bans remained in effect in 79 of Indiana's 92 counties.
“We hope people will continue to realize the danger that exists and will act accordingly,” Commissioner Nelson Peters said in a statement.
Recent rains had already caused 10 other Hoosier counties – including Noble, Steuben, DeKalb and Wells – to lift their bans. More rain was possible in northeast Indiana today. As much as 3 inches of rain has fallen in parts of Allen County in the past week, according to the National Weather Service.
The lifting of the ban means any municipal ordinances that restrict burning or require the issuance of permits will be reinstated. Although open burning was restricted in Fort Wayne even before the Commissioners' ban, they issued the countywide ban because dry conditions had increased the risk of fire.
The ban also dampened the sale of fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday, although it did not affect licensed, large public displays in Fort Wayne and elsewhere.
Despite the rain, U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Michael Scuse said in Indiana last week that most of the state's corn crop has already been too damaged by drought to recover. More rain could still help soybeans, he added.
Since June 1, Fort Wayne has received 4.5 inches of rain – about 3.07 inches less than normal. Since Jan. 1, the dry deficit is even greater: 7.52 inches, according to the Weather Service.
Burning permits are not normally required in unincorporated areas of Allen County. However, burn piles must be at least 20 feet from owned structures, roads and power lines and 100 feet from any fuel-storage area, pipeline or non-owned structure. Burning is permitted only between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and should be done when winds are less than 20 mph and on days when no air-quality alert is in effect.
Local of state officials have the authority to extinguish fires determined to be a nuisance, the Commissioners noted. People who prefer not to burn their debris can take it to the Allen County Solid Waste District's drop-off sites at the National Serv-All landfill at 6231 MacBeth Road or the Fort Wayne Biosolids Handling Facility at 5510 Lake Ave. Both sites charge a small fee for composting, and more information is available at www.acwastewatcher.org.