County-wide burn ban extended by commissioners

The countywide burn ban first enacted on Nov. 14 has been extended by the Bartholomew County Commissioners until at least Monday, Nov. 27.

“While we’ve had (the ban) for a week, we probably needed it a week or two prior to that,” Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said. “If you ever had a fire get away from you because of wind, it is scary.”

That’s what took place during the early afternoon hours of Nov. 12, when several rural fire departments responded to a grass fire in the 600 block of Grand Street in Hope. The winds blew the dry, burning leaves into a wooden fence, Hope Town Marshal Matt Tallent said.

Even though the ban has been in place for several days, commissioners’ Chairman Tony London said the county received several reports of local residents burning leaves and debris in their yards last weekend.

The extension of the ban was made at the request of the county fire chiefs, London said. Fire bans usually remain in affect for one week before they are reevaluated. If conditions remain the same, the fire chiefs will request the commissioners to keep the ban in place for another week.

Many Bartholomew County residents were either not aware of the burn ban or presumed the rains late last week had eliminated the danger. However, London said it had been dry for so long that the rains were not enough to eliminate the threat of field fires.

The forecast called for widespread rainfall in our region both Monday night and all day Tuesday. However, models used by the National Weather Service suggest that the heaviest rain might fall just south of Bartholomew County. But winds could gust close to 30 mph Tuesday, which could dry up leaves and debris on the ground, the NWS stated.

After the active and wet start to the week, a quiet pattern will return for the extended Thanksgiving weekend, forecasters in Indianapolis say. This will bring a return to mainly dry conditions and seasonable temperatures to start, with a gradual downtrend in temperatures late this weekend into early next week.