Once again, the Kosciusko County Commissioners have extended the burn ban in light of continuing drought conditions.
At this morning’s regular commission meeting, Bob Conley, Brad Jackson and Ron Truex unanimously voted to extend the ban through July 31. That is also the date of the next regular meeting of the commissioners where the matter will again be reviewed. If a significant amount of rain is received prior to that meeting date, a special meeting with be held at which time the ban will again be reviewed.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell has also issued a statement to all ISP officers and is now telling the public that pursuant to Indiana Code, officers may enforce an attempt to prevent fires.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security reports that, as of July 15, 85 counties had active burn bans. Whitesell says any person who tosses a lighted cigarette, cigar, match or other burning material from a moving motor vehicle commits a class A infraction and officers are encouraged to issue citations.
Further, the ISP superintendent said individuals can also be cited for littering, a class B infraction and, again, he told all ISP officers to use discretion to take enforcement action under IC 35-45-3-3 and IC 35-45-3-2 to protect natural resources and property.
At Monday night’s regular meeting of the Warsaw Common Council, Warsaw Fire Chief Mike Brubaker submitted monthly reports showing the department responded to 14 fires in June alone that were all related to outside burning. Local law enforcement officials have said they will issue warnings to anyone who violates the burn ban the first time, continued violations will be handled at officers discretion.