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Thursday, May 5, 2016

'Burn notice'

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Clay County firefighters have responded to or provided manpower and water assistance to surrounding fires more than 60 times since a burn ban was initiated on Sept. 27 due to dry weather conditions. [Order this photo]
* Despite ongoing burn ban, firefighters still battling blazes

Although a burn ban has been in effect since Sept. 27, daily fires have been popping up throughout Clay County.

Information provided by Emergency 911 dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center shows more than 55 fires have been reported throughout Clay County with approximately 48 potential illegal burn situations.

Various fire officials, who have spoken to The Brazil Times in the past few weeks, cite trash fires as a major source of many of the fires, while lit cigarettes tossed from vehicles a close second.

"The conditions are so bad, all it would take is an ember to start a fire," Clay County Emergency Management Director and Lewis Fire Chief Bryan Husband recently said. "It's just too dry to be burning anything right now."

Many farmers and rural homeowners take advantage of cooler fall temperatures to clear fence lines around their property by participating in "controlled burns" to remove debris, fallen tree limbs, tall grass, leaves and unwanted shrubbery.

Even with a few random rain showers and more supposedly on horizon, the dead foliage lying on the ground is still a problem.

"I just don't think that is an option for anyone this year," Van Buren Fire Chief Pete Taylor said. "It wouldn't take much for a small fire to get out of control very quickly."

Officials agree there needs to be more than a little bit of rain here and there to saturate the ground under the dead foliage.

"I believe (the Clay County Commissioners) are taking a "wait and see attitude" on the extension of the ban," Commissioner Paul Sinders said. "We are hopeful that we received sufficient rain over the weekend."

Once again, the commissioners will speak with local fire chiefs regarding their opinions about extending the burn ban scheduled to expire Tuesday.

"We speak to all the fire departments to get their opinion on the situation," Commissioner President Charlie Brown said recently. "They are the ones who battle blazes when they happen."

According to local weather forecasters, there is a chance of scattered rain for the Wabash Valley starting Tuesday, but dry conditions are expected to return Thursday afternoon.

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There is burning in Harmony tonight... but then again there always is..

-- Posted by localgal on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 10:07 PM

Why have you not reported it?

-- Posted by cityinneed on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 9:14 AM

There really seems to be no point. I reported it when a resident was burning furniture and garbage, and black smoke was rolling. The state law is clear - it is illegal to burn trash in Indiana. The town of Harmony allows it, Clay County allows it, and the burn ban allows it. Until the leaders of this area uphold state law, there is no point.

I have posted this many times, but here it is again.


IDEM even admits that local enforcement of local ordinances is the only way to really combat this problem. Unfortunately, the only issue the commissioners are concerned about is field fires from general burning. If the dry conditions were not happening right now, there would be no discussion. That does not address the fact that we let people illegally burn trash every night, which makes toxic air for their neighbors to breathe. When you take a town like Harmony with homes so close together, it makes it all the worse. So many people in Harmony are doing the right thing by paying to have their trash hauled off. But a blind eye is given to those who do not. It is totally unfair that we have to breathe their pollution.

-- Posted by localgal on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 3:33 PM

I saw two fires yesterday. One a leaf pile and another a fence row. Just stupidity and endangering all of their neighbors' property in addition to the pollution. Leaves are a natural mulch and good for the soil. Fence rows can be cut and not that big of a problem if managed on regular basis. Especially since it is so flat here.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 7:05 AM

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