Allen County and the City of Fort Wayne have declared a state of emergency and issued a burn ban for the next seven days.
Burning of any sort for the next seven days, including recreational campfires and fire pits, will not be allowed.
Officials from Fort Wayne, New Haven, Huntertown, the Department of Homeland Security and Environmental Safety and the Allen County Fire Chiefs Association are all in agreement on the emergency ban, Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters said Friday.
With the county in the midst of a moderate drought with no rain in the forecast, residents are urged to use extreme caution with any type of flammable product, Peters said.
While the open burning of trash, leaves or yard and construction waste is already prohibited year-round within the county and city, the countywide ban also includes:
- Unpermitted controlled burns;
- Burning of organic debris;
- Discarding of unextinguished smoking materials on the ground or not within an enclosed fireproof receptacle; and
- Commercial burning of material other than for religious or ceremonial purposes that is not contained in a barbecue grill and the total fuel area does not exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.
Although Fort Wayne usually issues permits for campfires for scouting and family outings and bonfires for school pep rallies, no permits will be issued during the burn ban, Peters said.
Anyone who violates the ban could be cited and fined, or subject to criminal charges should a fire result in personal or property damage.
County and city officials will review the ban and weather conditions each week and decide whether an extension is needed, Peters said.