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Hot, dry conditions pose fire risk

Statement as issued Friday by the Indiana state fire marshal:

INDIANAPOLIS – Many Hoosiers will be celebrating Memorial Day this weekend with cookouts, bonfires and fireworks. With dry, hot weather in the forecast, Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson is warning Hoosiers that activities like grilling and fireworks have the potential to cause sizable fires.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

“In these dry conditions fires can ignite and spread very quickly,” says Greeson. “Know if a burn ban restriction affects your area, and always use caution when handling anything that produces heat or could produce a spark, especially fireworks.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, many portions of northern and southwest Indiana are experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

Dry Weather Fire Safety Tips

Fireworks

  • Store fireworks in a cool dry area.
  • When using fireworks, always have a fire extinguisher, water supply, hose, or bucket of water nearby.
  • Be cautious when lighting fireworks when it is windy.
  • If a burn ban is in effect for your area, call your local fire department to inquire about what activities are included in the restriction. In some areas, a burn ban may restrict the use of fireworks.
  • If fireworks do ignite a fire, contact your local fire department or 911 immediately. Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire by yourself.

Outdoor cooking

• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup.

• Never leave an outdoor charcoal or gas grill unattended.

The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Avoid placing the grill on dry grass or leaves.

When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Vehicles

• Never park your vehicle on dry grass or leaves.

• Avoid driving through tall grass.

• Make sure spark arresters on the internal combustion engines of off road vehicles are clean.

Tobacco products

• Never throw a lighted cigarette out the window of a vehicle.

• Never walk off and leave a burning cigarette.

• Use ash trays.

Burn Bans

Burn bans can be ordered by any local fire chief for his or her jurisdiction, or by the legislative body of a city, town or county. While the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office does not declare local burn bans, the Indiana State Fire Marshal supports all local efforts to reduce the fire risk escalated by dry weather.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office has compiled a map to indicate what areas are currently under local burn bans. This map is available at http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/burn-ban. A link is also available on the IDHS home page dhs.in.gov.

Because local jurisdictions, and not the state, order and enforce local burn bans, it is imperative that individuals in a burn ban area check with their local fire department or county commission for detailed instructions on what burning related activities are prohibited in their area.

For more information about fireworks safety visit GetPrepared.in.gov.

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