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In dry conditions fires can ignite and spread very quickly. Grilling, shooting off fireworks, and backyard fires have the potential to cause sizable fires. Even seemingly harmless actions like driving over or parking on dry grass, or dropping a lit cigarette on the ground, could spark a fire. Use caution when handling anything that produces heat or could produce a spark.
Burn bans can be ordered by any local fire chief for his or her jurisdiction, or by the legislative body of a city, town or county. While the Indiana State Fire Marshal does not declare local burn bans, the Indiana State Fire Marshal supports all local efforts to reduce the fire risk escalated by dry weather.
Because local jurisdictions, and not the state, order and enforce local burn bans, it is imperative that individuals in a burn ban area check with their local fire department or county commission for detailed instructions on what burning-related activities are prohibited in their area.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office has compiled a listing of the areas currently under burn bans. You can see them all on the Statewide Burn Ban Status Map.
Dry Weather Fire Safety Tips
- Store firewood and all other combustibles away from your home.
- It is advisable to avoid burning vegetative debris (sticks, leaves, etc.) during dry weather, but if you must, and if permissible, burn it in a safe incinerator that includes: heavy mesh screen with holes not much longer than 1/4 inch, and a metal barrel in good condition.
- Have a hose nearby to help put out the fire if it gets out of control.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup.
- Never leave an outdoor charcoal or gas grill unattended.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Avoid placing the grill on dry grass or leaves.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Never park your vehicle on dry grass or leaves.
- Avoid driving through tall grass.
- Make sure spark arresters on the internal combustion engines of off-road vehicles are clean.
- Never throw a lighted cigarette out the window of a vehicle.
- Never walk away from a burning cigarette.
- Always use ash trays.
- 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 on windy days.
- If a burn ban is in effect for your area, call your local fire department to inquire about what activities are included in the restriction. In some areas, a burn ban may prohibit or restrict the use of fireworks.
- If fireworks do ignite a fire, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to extinguish a large fire by yourself.
- Perform proper maintenance on agricultural equipment to prevent overheating.
- Grease trailer wheels, check tires, and ensure safety chains are not touching the ground.
- Be careful with gas lanterns, barbeques, gas stoves, and anything that can be a source of ignition for a wildfire.
- Remember, sparks from chainsaws, welding torches, and other equipment can cause wildfires.