County lifts burning ban

The nearly month-long ban on open burning has been lifted, according to the Whitley County Board of Commissioners and the Whitley County Fire Chiefs’ Association.The two county entities, working in tandem, attributed the decision Thursday to the gradually improving conditions, cooler weather and precipitation in the forecast.The fire chiefs want to caution everyone that conditions are still not ideal for open burning, but have improved enough to lift the ban.They added that taking advantage of frost and dew is a good way to minimize chances of a controlled burn getting out of control.“The best times right now to burn would be early in the morning when the dew and frost are still on the ground,” said the fire chiefs in a news release Thursday.“We would like to remind residents they are still responsible for any fire they light, and any open burning at any time needs to be attended. If an unattended fire is reported, the fire department still may extinguish the fire.”Jeremy Hammel, president of the association said Thursday there were several factors behind the decision.“It was a combination of things,” he said, “with the rain we’ve had recently and we’ve got some humidity back in the air and we got some frost. So, we’re getting back to normal of where we’re usually at in the fall.”Hammel said the association would still ask anyone who is going to burn any large brush piles to contact their local fire department before burning. He added that anyone who has any type of building or structure to burn from storm damage still needs to contact the local fire department first.Though the ban has been lifted there is a state law that prohibits most open burning. According to the law:1. Leaves must be in an unburnable container with a mesh covering on the top of the container. 2. If leaf burning creates a nuisance or fire hazard it is to be extinguished.3. Leaf burning must take place only during daylight hours and the fire must be attended while burning.4. Leaf fires are to be extinguished at sunset.5. Leaf burning shall not be conducted during stagnate air times or during high winds.The state law permits open burning recreational or ceremonial fires, the burning of farm vegetation and wood products.