Understanding The County-Wide Burn Ban

By Debbie Hackman
Recycling District Director

In the last couple weeks the Jackson County Commissioners issued a burn ban for Jackson County. Evidently, the ban has caused a great amount of confusion. To make the explanation easy, it is now illegal to burn anything in Jackson County. The county did say that grills and wood stoves were okay, however caution should be taken if embers are blowing from either of these devices. The following activities are not allowed until the ban is lifted:
•Burning fence rows, agricultural or vegetative waste
•Controlled burns of any type
•Burning trash
•Burning trash with a water hose or bucket of water in your hand.
•Burning leaves
•Burning leaves with a water hose or bucket of water in your hand
•Campfires or fire pits
•Campfires or fire pits with a water hose of bucket of water in your hand
•Open burning of any kind
Is the burn ban an inconvenience for most rural residents who are accustomed to burning trash? Yes. Is the burn ban necessary? Absolutely!
Drew Daily, fire expert from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said Tuesday that “this is a cumulative situation that has been building for months and it will take months to alleviate.” Daily predicts it will take about five inches of rain over a month’s period to provide enough moisture for the ban to be safely lifted.
No one is questioning the residents’ common sense as to when and where burning should be allowed. But no human has control over a sudden burst of wind that may carry an ember or spark to a nearby field of corn stubble, a bale of straw, a yard of dry grass or a home.
“The current fire behavior is not typical of southern Indiana.” Daily said. That is why it is so important that drastic steps be taken to prevent fires.
On October 10 a fire in Dearborn County, described as a wildfire burned 100 acres in an hour and claimed a family’s home.
A fire in the Clark State Forest the same weekend was suspected of being started by a cigarette butt left behind by a hiker.
A fire in Carr Township a couple weeks ago burned 50 acres.
To most rural residents’ surprise, it was illegal to burn trash in Indiana even before the commissioners in Jackson County and 69 other Indiana counties imposed a burn ban. That includes household waste, plastic, rubber, disposable diapers and painted or stained wood.
If you are a backyard burner you may be asking what you should do with your trash? Rumpke Landfill at Medora and BestWay Transfer Station in Seymour will accept household waste. There is a responsibility fee for taking your trash to these facilities.
But to help out rural residents who are accustomed to using a burn barrel as a method of disposal the Jackson County Recycling District will be sponsoring a five hour period on Saturday, October 30, when bags of household trash will be accepted for free. This does not include large items, hazardous waste, tires or furniture but bagged household trash only.
The two locations for drop off are Rumpke Landfill, 546 South County Road 870 West, Medora and BestWay Transfer Station, 975 South Commerce Drive, Seymour. Free disposal will be available from 7 a.m. to noon.
For more information on setting up regular rural trash-up, call one the above companies above or the Jackson County Recycling District.