Grass fire started by lit cigarette

ELKHART, Ind. -- Several counties have burn bans in effect right now, and Elkhart took it one step further.

The City of Elkhart has made a disaster declaration because of the severity of the drought and dry conditions.

It's basically a burn ban. No one in the county can light a camp fire or burn anything, for fear that it could spread very quickly.

ABC 57's Judi Lykowski caught up with Jennifer Tobey, the Emergency Management Director of Elkhart County. She told us this disaster proclamation is very serious.

Right now, the burn ban is through next Friday.

Tobey is also a part-time firefighter for South West Central. Firefighters said that a grass fire in South Bend started on Friday afternoon when someone threw a lit cigarette out of a car window.

St. Joseph, Marshall, LaGrange, Kosciusko, and Fulton Counties are also under a burn ban. So what happens if you violate it? Well, you could get a ticket or even be arrested.

"With this proclamation that's in place, anybody that decides that they don't want to follow it, our sheriff's department has been notified and they are on board and they will respond. They can be ticketed it's a class B misdemeanor, but it's breaking the law," said Tobey.

As for fireworks, they are not included in the ban, but officials discourage it.

Bans will be in place until we get a lot of rain.

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