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GREENSBURG — A rainy spring has turned into worsening drought conditions for 22 Indiana counties, prompting Indiana Department of Homeland Security to declare a burn ban for the lower quarter of the state.

In an almost straight line from Gibson County in the southwestern-most part of the state through Lawrence County and Decatur County all the way to Union County, residents are reminded that open burning is forbidden.

“We’ve had quite a few trash fires and from people throwing out burning cigarette butts. They need to be reminded that Decatur County is under a burn ban,” Burney Volunteer Fire Department Asst. Chief David Fuel said Friday morning.

“No open fires of any kind, nowhere, period,” said Greensburg Fire Chief Steve Garrett. “We had a call down on 280 West 200 South yesterday that we think was caused by a cigarette thrown out by someone. It was in an open field and when it hit standing corn, it just went!

Letts, Adams, Burney and Greensburg fire departments answered the call to a field fire that eventually consumed approximately 10 acres in the southern part of the county.

“There were four fire departments out there and there were a couple of farmers that helped us a lot,” said firefighter Ron Clark.

Greensburg Assistant Fire Chief Brian Wenning supported the ban, saying, “Something as simple as burning your trash may seem insignificant, but the embers can ignite dry vegetation or crops. This creates a hazard for all involved, especially when a field fire can turn into a structure fire quickly if not contained. Please refrain from burning anything at this time.”

Indiana counties currently under a burn ban include Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Decatur, Dubois, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Harrison Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Lawrence, Martin, Ohio, Orange, Perry, Pike, Posey, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Switzerland, Union, Vanderburgh, Warren Washington and Warrick.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com