The Kosciusko County Board of Commissioners has issued a burn ban in effect until noon, June 22.
South Bend is also now under a burn ban because of our hot, dry weather, but the show will go on Friday night. The South Bend Silver Hawks will still have fireworks after tonight's game at Coveleski Stadium.
St. Joseph County Commissioners say we need at least an inch of rain before they'll lift the ban.
St. Joseph County police say the main way they'll find out about violations is by people calling in to report illegal burning. They won't be able to put extra officers on the road just to enforce the ban.
We haven't had any significant rainfall since May 31. Clay Territory firefighters alone have responded to many grass and brush fires in the last week.
"It's dry enough that there's really isn't a need to for people to burn anything. If they waited this long burn they can wait longer," says Clay Territory Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone. He says it only takes seconds for a small grass or brush fire to get out of control.
Cherrone actually showed WSBT how quickly a fire can spread by lighting a dry patch of grass behind Clay's Fire Station on Cleveland Avenue. Within 30 seconds the fire doubled in size to a 6-foot span and started spreading quickly in all directions.
That's why Cherrone says you should never burn without having a shovel and dirt or water nearby.
Because of the dangerously dry conditions, Cherrone talked with commissioners encouraging them to put a burn ban in place.
On Monday the board discussed the issue, hoping to get some rain on Tuesday. That didn't happen, so commissioners put a burn ban in effect indefinitely.
"Please don't burn," urges District 1 Commissioner Andy Kostielney.
Under the burn ban, you won’t be able to burn anything ... even in a container.
And if we don't get any significant amount of rainfall soon, the ban could extend to 4th of July fireworks.
"Every year we always end up in St. Joseph County with a structure, whether it's a garage or a house, that it ignited by wayward fireworks. So when you have the dry conditions in the grass like this, you're just compounding the problem," says Cherrone.
St. Joseph County Commissioner Kostielney says the county's legal department is checking into whether or not fireworks would fall under the "burn ban." If not, they may vote on a separate ban if outside weather conditions don't improve.