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May 10, 2013

City officials to consider change to burn ordinance

Ordinance would allow campfires and burning farm materials.

LOGANSPORT — City officials are working on changing an ordinance to allow campfires within city limits and the burning of farm materials in potentially annexed areas.

Mayor Ted Franklin said they want to change the ordinance, which currently allows only contained fires for cooking purposes, so that residents are able to light campfires of wood materials. Due to concerns from local farmers, Franklin said the ordinance would also allow the burning of some materials on county lands that may be annexed into the city.

Since 2004, the city’s burn ordinance has mandated that fires can be lit within the city only if they’re being used for cooking purposes.

That means that campfire or fires within a fire pit were not permitted, according to Franklin.

“We’re trying to overcome that,” Franklin said.

The new ordinance, which Franklin said he expects to bring up before the June city council meeting, would allow more “discretion” in burning firewood materials so residents could have contained recreational campfires.

But, the same rules would stay in place so that the burning of trash, leaves and other items like housing materials would be prohibited.

Though the Logansport Fire Department routinely has calls about illegal burning of non-wood materials, Fire Chief Mark Strong said small campfires within a pit or enclosure should be allowed.

“I’ve always felt there’s no problem with having a campfire,” Strong said.

In the county, residents are allowed to burn wood materials, brush and leaves, but they’re not allowed to burn anything petroleum-based, and fires are supposed to be contained, according to Rex Danely, district lieutenant with the New Waverly Fire Department.

“If they burn, even outside the city limits, it’s supposed to be contained or in a pit,” Danely said.

To help address concerns from farmers in the county who may have land annexed into the city, Franklin said they’re also including a provision in the ordinance to allow the burning of fence rows and other vegetation on “land owned for agricultural use.”

“We certainly want to make sure that they’re given every opportunity to be successful as they can,” Franklin said.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

 

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