Statement as distributed Friday morning:
FORT WAYNE, IND., June 16, 2012 –With the Allen County area experiencing a moderate drought, with no rain in the forecast, the Allen County Board of Commissioners have issued a burn ban that will now include recreational camp fires and fire pits countywide. For some Fort Wayne citizens, the burn ban makes sense and has been anticipated; for others, they are not sure what this ban means. The Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) would like to use this opportunity to educate the public about Fort Wayne's city ordinance regarding open burning.
"In the last few days, the FWFD has responded to multiple calls from the public concerned we do not have a burn ban in place considering the extreme dry conditions. When in fact, that is not the case," says Fire Marshal Jim Murua. "Open burning is restricted – year round. Today's additional restriction is an excellent opportunity to educate the public that open burning of yard waste, garbage, leaves and other combustible materials is never allowed. Grills, recreational campfires/fire pits, bonfire and fireworks are allowed but are extremely restricted."
Fort Wayne City Ordinance states: No person or business shall kindle or maintain any open burning consisting of a trash fire, leaf fire, bonfire, refuse fire, or other open burning.
(1) Exemptions. The following types of fire may be allowed:
(a) Bonfires celebrating school pep rallies (by permit only).
(b) Recreational camp fires for scouting or family cookout activities.
All exemptions shall be subject to the following:
•A garden hose connected to a water supply, buckets, shovel, fire extinguisher or other approved fire extinguishing shall be readily available at the burn site.
•Only wood products shall be burned-no leaves, paper or trash
•A fire shall be attended by a responsible party at all times until completely extinguished.
•A fire shall be located at least 25 feet away from any structure, fence or right of way.
•A fire shall not exceed an area 3 feet wide by 2 feet high.
•If the open burning creates a smoke nuisance, or a hazardous condition exists, the open burning shall be immediately extinguished
•Anyone who recklessly, knowingly or intentionally kindles, or maintains any open burning consisting of a trash fire, leaf fire, bonfire, refuse fire, or other open burning that damages property of another person or spreads to property of another person may be liable for criminal mischief.
•Any person who maintains burning of combustible materials out of doors or open burning not permitted shall be in violation and may be fined 50 dollars. If the violator does not appear in response to a notice issued to them within a period of 30 calendar days from the date and time shown on the notice, the penalty shall be 75 dollars.
Today's additional burn ban now includes the exceptions; bonfires and recreational camp fires. This additional burn ban will remain effective until the weather reduces fire risk conditions.
With the 4th of July holiday quickly approaching; many people are concerned about the use of fireworks. While no burn ban has been issued regarding fireworks, city ordinance always restricts the use of fireworks to the following dates and times and are subject to the following:
- Fireworks are restricted to June 29th to July 3rd and then July 5th to July 9th between the hours of 5:00 p.m. to two hours after sunset; on July 4th, fireworks can be discharged between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight.
- 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 fireworks do ignite a fire, contact your local fire department or 911 immediately. Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire by yourself.
Please contact Stacey Fleming, PIO at 427.1102 with any further questions or concerns. Or visit the FWFD website at www.fortwaynefiredepartment.org for more dry weather safety tips.