Fire fighters from the Washington Township Fire Department put out a grass fire that torched a little less than 2 acres in the 9100 block of Hugenard this morning. In the county, a few hours later three crews battled a fire off of Indiana State Road 37 and Black Road. Departments say they've seen an uptick in calls.
"We've been averaging about two burn calls a day, where people are burning and it gets out of control or they are burning and don't realize there is still a burn ban in effect," says Tim George. Geaorge is with the North East Allen County Fire Department. Their department, like other local departments, have admitted to issuing no citations. They say when they catch someone burning; they usually just give them a verbal warning and tell them to put the fire out.
"People think just because they get a little bit of rain they can burn right afterwards and that's not true. It's going to take a lot of rain to get this ground a little wet so you can burn," says George. Fire burns fast on dry grass, especially with a little wind. Firefighter say a careless smoker flicking a cigarette butt can burn acres of land and even a broken bottle that heats up and acts as a magnifying glass.
Firefighters speculate that today's fire was started when a homeowner drove a lawnmower over a rock, creating a spark. They encourage people to be conscious of doing things that may endanger the community. George says "Highly encourage people not to burn, wait until the burn ban is lifted because you're not only putting our lives in danger but other lives in danger if the fire spreads to someone's house."
The burn ban is in effect indefinitely.