ST. JOSEPH COUNTY
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has issued a statement on the burn ban and fireworks. Here's what he said:
"The City of South Bend reminds residents that the countywide burn
ban remains in effect until further notice. Fire safety officials have stressed to the Mayor’s Office that the safe use of fireworks is urged. Additionally, reckless use could be prosecuted. City and county officials will re-evaluate ground conditions regularly and will update the public of any policy changes."
This Saturday's fireworks at St. Patrick's County Park in South Bend have been postponed. That word from Clay Fire Territory Fire Chief John Vance. Vance says legally, he can only postpone them, not cancel them, due to the laws on the books.
Vance says the fireworks are off unless we get a significant amount of rainfall between now and Saturday night, but that's doubtful. No new date has been set.
The South Bend Symphony is still scheduled to perform its July 4th patriotic show at St. Patrick's Park Saturday, which was to include fireworks.
St. Joseph County commissioners are considering banning all fireworks through a local disaster emergency declaration.
“Our number one concern is if we have a ban or don't have a ban is that people are responsible,” said Commissioner Andy Kostielney. Our calls have nearly doubled from brush and grass fires in the last week. So that's our concern. Conditions are so poor right now that even the slightest spark could set off a fire, could burn someone's house down.”
Kostielney says if the county does issue a fireworks ban, it will likely happen first thing Saturday.
Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood on Friday announced that his city's fireworks celebration planned for Thursday, July 5 at Buetter Park is still on. It's part of the Summer Concert Series Program.
"A professionally licensed and insured pyrotechnics company will provide the show under fire protection from the Mishawaka Fire Department," said Wood.
Fire Chief Dale Freeman assures the Fire Department has taken every precaution necessary to ensure a safe fireworks display.
The Marshall County Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday announced an all-out ban on the use of any fireworks because of extremely dry weather conditions. That even means no public displays this 4th of July.
“Regrettably, some tough decisions regarding open burning and the use of fireworks had to be made,” said EMA Director Clyde Avery. “The local area fire chiefs were consulted, and based on their experience and the current conditions, they believe that in the interest of public safety, the burn ban should remain in place and that public displays and use of consumer fireworks should be prohibited.”
With that recommendation and no expected improvement in the drought conditions in the foreseeable future, the Marshall County Board of Commissioners has issued a new Disaster Declaration replacing the previous declaration that was due to expire at Noon Wednesday.
The new disaster declaration will remain in effect until further notice.
The following activities are prohibited in Marshall County:
- Public and private displays or use of fireworks
- Campfires and other recreational fires
- Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel, such as wood or other combustible materials with the exception of grills fueled by charcoal briquettes or propane (charcoal from permitted grills should be thoroughly extinguished before being removed from the grill)
- The burning of debris, such as timber or vegetation, and other such debris that results from building construction activities
Avery is asking for the cooperation from everybody in Marshall County to comply with the necessary emergency measures and to cooperate with public officials.
Violators could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which if convicted, is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Offenders can also be billed for all costs associated with the emergency response.