The parched, tinderbox conditions in northern Indiana prompted more cities and counties Wednesday to ban open-air burning and the use of fireworks.
Steuben and Noble counties and the cities of Angola and Kendallville have issued bans on burning. Meanwhile, Allen County is asking residents to limit or suspend open-air burning that’s allowed under county law.
“Should these dry conditions persist, other steps may be necessary,” Allen County commissioners said in a written statement.
The National Weather Service is predicting that the conditions won’t be improving anytime soon, as the region remains in what’s described as a moderate drought.
“With no rain through this weekend, the dry conditions will only get worse … with increasing fire danger,” the weather service said Wednesday in a statement.
Reports of grass fires have been on the rise since the weekend, the weather service said. On Tuesday, a grass fire along Interstate 69 just north of Illinois Road forced the closure of two southbound lanes, a fire official said.
Steuben County and Kendallville have explicitly banned the use of fireworks. “The ban will stay in effect until there is sufficient rain to turn vegetation green again,” a statement from Steuben County commissioners said.
In Angola, any burning permits that had been issued were void as of Wednesday, according to a statement from the city fire department.