STATEHOUSE (June 29, 2012) — With 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties currently reporting burn bans, State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) today encourages local residents to use common sense and make safety a top priority when it comes to celebrating this Fourth of July.
Hershman said state law may be confusing to people due to the unusual drought Indiana is facing. Under normal conditions, Indiana Code 22-11-14-10.5 prohibits local governments from passing ordinances that restrict the use of fireworks between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29 through July 9, annually. State law additionally bars local ordinances that ban setting off fireworks between 10 p.m. and midnight on July 4. Fireworks may be set off on a user’s property, on the property of someone who has consented to their use or at a special discharge location usually designated by the state fire marshal or local officials.
However, due to severely dry weather conditions, counties may issue emergency declarations barring open flames, burning and fireworks. As a result, a number of communities have either issued or are considering issuing emergency declarations that would prohibit fireworks usage. Even some localities who have not enacted an emergency declaration are strongly encouraging residents to refrain from using fireworks.
Hershman urges residents to contact local officials to determine whether their community has issued such a declaration. Regardless of the declarations, Hershman said he urges all Hoosiers to exercise caution.
“I join many Indiana county officials in strongly encouraging Hoosiers to refrain from setting off fireworks until the drought conditions abate and until burn bans or related restrictions are lifted,” Hershman said. “It’s my hope safety will be a top priority and residents will use caution.”
Hershman also said he encourages Hoosiers to review the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s fireworks safety tips. These include storing fireworks in cool, dry areas; keeping a fire extinguisher, hose or bucket of water nearby; and refraining from re-lighting “dud” fireworks.
All six counties in Hershman’s Senate district — Boone, Carroll, Clinton, Jasper, Tippecanoe and White — have issued burn bans. Additionally, Boone, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties currently have issued fireworks restrictions. For statewide burn ban information, visit http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/burn-ban/. To view a list of county emergency declarations and fireworks restrictions, go to http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/IN_Active_Fireworks_Restrictions.pdf.