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Burn ban continues


LaGrange County Commissioners voted at Monday morning’s meeting to continue the emergency burn ban until Monday, July 2. The emergency ban was made effective last Thursday when the National Weather Service declared LaGrange County in an elevated risk for fire danger.

    Fire chiefs from LaGrange, Shipshewana and Topeka were in attendance at the Monday meeting and recommended that the ban be extended until the next commissioner’s meeting on July 2, unless there is a significant amount of rainfall between now and then. In the event that there is enough rain received to warrant the lifting of the ban, commissioners agreed to meet in a special session to change the order.

    Under terms of the ordinance passed Monday, the emergency ban prohibits the following:

·        Burning of unattended campfires;

·        Burning of brush;

·        Burning of trash fires;

·        Burning of burn barrels;

·        Burning of any other open air fires, including the use of fireworks;

    Grilling on gas and charcoal grills is permitted. Also excluded from the ban are public displays of fireworks requiring a state fire marshal permit.

    The ordinance passed imposes a $100 fine which is to be enforced by the county sheriff’s department. The fine money collected will go to the county general fund.

    In addition to the fines, people cited for violating the ban will be charged by the fire departments for services in connection with extinguishing the banned blazes.

    Commissioners also talked about an ordinance prohibiting open burning of any sort in the county. Shipshewana Fire Chief Chad Miller was asked to bring recommendations on the subject to a future commissioners meeting. An ordinance was introduced a few years back that did not receive the support needed for passage.

    Commissioners also issued a “Notice to Proceed” to USI, the company that was the successful bidder on a project to determine the cost of building a road and bridge to property located west of the Fawn River Industrial Park. The cost for the study is $17,000 and will be paid with TIF money from the Fawn River Crossing Industrial Park.

    The LaGrange County Health Department received commissioners’ approval to have a mobile mammography unit park in the health department parking lot once a month in 2013.