BURN BAN: City and county lift ban

COLUMBIA CITY — With days of continuous rain, the county and city both lifted burn bans Tuesday, which were set in place as a result of the drought.County Commissioner Don Amber said the county’s decision came from the Whitley County Fire Chief’s Association due to the improving conditions. Amber cautions people to be considerate of their neighbors who may have respiratory issues, as many people will be burning trash or leftovers from storm damage.In a press release from the WCFCA, president Jeremy Hammel said if conditions deteriorate again, or do not continue improving, the ban may be put back into effect.Hammel said, “The chiefs would like to remind everyone that conditions are still not ideal for burning, and there is still of lot of dry vegetation that would easily burn. We do have these conditions every year to a certain extent, but we would like to remind everyone to be careful.”Although the ban is lifted, Hammel said residents are still responsible for fires, and they should be attended at all times.Hours after the county lifted the burn ban, the Columbia City re-evaluated its ban, and came to the same decision.“Given current conditions and the future weather forecast, we are lifting the burn ban,” said Columbia City Fire Chief Tom LaRue in a press release. “We just ask that residents be safe and always follow the city ordinances.”If the drought conditions return, city officials say they also may put the burn ban back into effect.