FORT WAYNE – Mark and Jan Early have a living room full of fireworks that they may not get to ignite.
The Earlys, from Leo-Cedarville, usually have between 100 and 150 friends and family over for a big Independence Day party that is followed by a fireworks display.
Mark Early said there are six or seven homes around the neighborhood that plan their parties around his fireworks.
"My whole living room's full" of fireworks, he said. "I think there's $1,700 worth."
But with the burn ban and recent storm, the Earlys have decided to postpone their annual party.
"We're hoping somehow in a week or two we can have this party," Mark Early said. "I do sympathize. I don't want to hurt anyone's property. I think it's smart not to shoot them off; it's just disappointing."
Fireworks shows tonight at IPFW and after the TinCaps' game at Parkview Field will still go on as planned.
Fort Wayne Fire Marshal Jim Murua said the city fire department has been working with IPFW and tweaked the show a bit.
"We have figured out some modifications as far as distances go and some of the things that are angled to make sure that they have enough clearance," Murua said. "We had them move some of those things back to make sure there's the extra few hundred feet from say a field or something like that."
Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson was in Fort Wayne on Tuesday discussing fireworks, burn bans and fire safety along with Murua and Fort Wayne Fire Chief Amy Biggs.
Greeson said just a little spark is all it takes.
"At this point in the state of Indiana, any cigarette that's tossed out a window has over a 90 percent chance of starting a fire," Greeson said.
A countywide burn ban is in effect for Allen County and includes campfires, bonfires and consumer fireworks. There are 84 counties across the state with burn bans, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
The Fort Wayne Fire Department also said that someone lighting off fireworks isn't just putting their health and safety on the line, but the safety of firefighters.
When battling a fire, a firefighter wears equipment that weighs 70 pounds, Biggs said. On average, firefighters will be able to battle a fire for 20 minutes per air tank.
In extreme heat like the region has had, firefighters are able to last only 10 to 12 minutes, Biggs said.
This means it would take more firefighters to battle a blaze.
"It has a dramatic impact," Biggs said.
She also said the department's academy has made sure every firefighter is reminded of what goes into fighting grass fires.
Violating the burn ban is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
And don't go shooting off bottle rockets either, Murua warned, because you could be on the hook should a rogue spark ignite a fire on a neighbor's property.
"You can be liable for that damage if you burn up their yard or injure someone because of your lack of respect for the law," he said.
Those who see people violating the ban can call the Fort Wayne Police Department at 427-1222.