Monroe County, Indiana, Declares Local Disaster Emergency and Implements Burn Ban Amidst Drought Conditions

Staff report

Monroe County, Indiana – November 13, 2023

In response to severe county-wide drought conditions, the acting president of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, Penny Githens, has declared a Local Disaster Emergency and invoked a burn ban to mitigate the heightened risk of fire danger.

The declaration, made pursuant to the provisions of IC 10-14-3-29, cites the immediate threat posed by ongoing drought conditions, leading to an elevated risk of widespread fire hazards in Monroe County. As of 1600 hours on November 13, 2023, it has been determined that the county is at an increased risk of fire incidents.

The emergency declaration prohibits the following activities in Monroe County effective immediately:

  1. Campfires and other recreational fires, unless enclosed in a fire ring with dimensions of 23 inches in diameter and 10 inches high or larger.
  2. Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood, or other combustible matter, with the exception of grills fueled by charcoal briquettes or propane.
  3. The burning of debris, including timber for vegetation, and other open-air fires.
  4. The use of burn barrels for any open burning at residential structures. Burning in barrels with a 1⁄4 inch mesh top is allowed from dawn to dusk only.

Furthermore, residents are urged to attend public displays of fireworks and limit personal use to devices that do not leave the ground. The burning of charcoal from permitted grills is not permitted until thoroughly extinguished.

The emergency burn ban directs all residents to comply with necessary emergency measures, cooperate with public officials and Emergency Management forces, and obey the lawful directions of properly identified officers. Public officials and employees of Monroe County are instructed to exercise diligence in discharging their duties for the duration of the emergency and in executing emergency laws, regulations, and directives.

The declaration will remain in effect until November 20, 2023, unless further ordered by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners.

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