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Will burn bans affect your July 4th celebrations?

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Out front of the Clay Fire Department on Auten Road the message is clear. The sign reads, "Burn ban is still in effect," but the fire marshal said they’ve still responded to a grass fire every day in St. Joseph County since the burn ban took effect.

"Our weather conditions have not improved, in fact, they’re getting worse because we're losing more and more moisture," said Clay Fire Marshall Dave Cherrone.

Cherrone said these dry temperatures are very dangers and going into the fireworks season people need to take extreme caution and not use fireworks if they don’t have to.

But legally what are you allowed to do?

Many of the burn bans expire across the viewing area by the time the Indiana Fireworks Law kicks in.

The state law says fireworks can be shot off five days before and after the Fourth of July, which is June 29th to July 9th.

Counties could extend their burn ban through that time, but there is some question to legally what that would mean.

We asked Indiana State Fire Marshall Jim Greesom.

"It’s a good question the fireworks law says an ordinance cannot restrict the use of fireworks… so the emergency disaster declaration is not an ordinance and a burn ban is not an ordinance, but neither have been challenged in court if they truly can," said Greesom.

Greesom added that when counties make a ban or declaration that must parameters be set as to how they are enforced.

ABC 57 called all the counties in our viewing area and spoke to either a county commissioner or emergency manager.

Many counties told us that the state law would override their burn bans in the span of time around the Fourth of July.

The attached map is what we came up with as a tentative July 4th firework restrictions plan, but you have to remember these burn bans and advisories can change daily.

Most of the counties are in yellow. This means they are advising and asking people not to shoot off fireworks due to the dry conditions.

Kosciusko County said it plans on restricting the use of personal fireworks, but the paperwork had not officially gone through yet by Tuesday afternoon.

St. Joseph County, Ind., said it’s speaking with its lawyer to figure out legally what they can and cannot ban before they reach a decision.

In Michigan, the governor must issue a burn ban, and one has not been issued so, people should be allowed to shoot off fireworks up north.

No matter what the fire marshals said the dry weather means it’s time to be cautious.

Cherrone said if you do shoot off fireworks only use the ones on the ground like fountains. Also make sure to wet the ground where you are shooting them off at least 24 hours ahead of time to saturate the ground.

If you'd like to review all of the restrictions in place for Indiana, click here.

Also remember individual cities and townships can also set restrictions on shooting off fireworks and you should check with them locally if you have questions.









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