COLUMBIA CITY â The Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney is dispelling any speculation on whether recent suspension of fireworks by county and city government officials is legal.
âThis office has been made aware that the Whitley County Commissioners have imposed a ban on burning and on fireworks pursuant to their authority,â said Prosecutor Matt Rentschler in a letter Thursday.
The countyâs Board of Commissioners issued a ban on open burning, to include fireworks, on Monday.
As part of the announcement, board chair Don Amber said there had been concern that the banâs inclusion of fireworks was illegal since fireworks are legal by state law. He said at the time the commissioners were banning fireworks anyway.
Rentschler cited Indiana code, saying that while banning fireworks could be an illegal act by the board, it is not in this case since the ban is being done in conjunction with a fire hazard emergency.
âThis emergency provision overrides the ordinary state of the law, which recognizes the legality of use of fireworks,â Rentschler said.
He said Indiana code âprevents local governmental units from prohibiting fireworks...â He reiterated that law doesnât apply in this case.
âEmergency ordinances are not affected by (the code).
Columbia City had led the way in banning open burning, passing an ordinance June 15. The commissioners followed suit, and included fireworks in their ban. On Tuesday, Columbia City postponed the cityâs annual fireworks event, scheduled for Tuesday.