Commissioner Defends Different Fireworks Standards In County Burn Ban

By Jeff Neumeyer

July 3, 2012 Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 6:27 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The potential for fire hazard is behind Allen County's burn ban that makes it illegal for private citizens to shoot off fireworks this Fourth of July.

But fireworks will be exploding in the air at three public fireworks displays in the county.

At least 85 of 92 Indiana counties have put burn bans in place; most of them regulate the use of fireworks.

State fire marshal Jim Greeson defended such bans during a visit to Fort Wayne Tuesday, saying grass fires right now spread at a rate of 200 feet per minute.

The Allen County Commissioners are not banning public fireworks displays, but have strongly encouraged those displays be postponed until conditions are not so dry.

Commissioner Therese Brown concedes she fears banning fireworks put on by licensed professionals might expose the county to a legal challenge.

Therese Brown/(R) Allen County Commissioner: " We just wanted to make sure that we weren't kind of crossing a line, if you will, in that area, so, really I think we've taken a very proactive approach in encouraging individuals as hard as we can, to think of, obviously, the situation that we're in right now."

Brown says she’s not particularly worried that permitting public displays will indirectly cause private fireworks use to spike.

She believes folks will recognize that safety trumps a desire for personal entertainment.

In addition, she wonders if attending the big public shows will help people get their fireworks “fix”, and be less likely to feel the need to have “bombs bursting in air” in their neighborhoods.

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