Wayne County Commissioners have declared the county to be in a State of Local Emergency as of 1 p.m. Friday (Sept. 25) because of extremely dry conditions, so a ban on burning has been put in place.

This emergency is in effect at least until Friday, Oct. 2, or until conditions improve. It will be reviewed every seven days.

Officials are concerned that grass, crops, trees, shrubbery and other plant materials are extremely dry and susceptible to rapidly burning and expanding fires that pose a significant threat to the safety of persons and property within Wayne County.

Officials noted this order won’t prohibit the use of gas or charcoal grills used solely for the preparation of food; fires within fireplaces; or fires within incinerators permitted by state law as long as all such fires are closely attended while burning and properly extinguished.

Charcoal from permitted grills shall not be removed from the grills until the charcoal has been thoroughly extinguished.

Activities banned include:

  • Campfires, other recreational fires and ceremonial fires;
  • Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood, or other combustible matter, with the exception of grills fueled by charcoal briquettes or propane;
  • The burning of debris, such as timber or vegetation, including such debris that results from building construction activities;
  • The use of burn barrels for any open burning at residential structures;
  • The discarding of matches, ashes, or other burning materials from a vehicle; and
  • The use or discharge of any aerial firework devices.


The towns of Dublin and Milton were among those announcing a burn ban earlier in the week.

All Wayne County citizens are directed to comply with emergency measures and to cooperate with public officials and emergency services.  Those who fail to observe, abide by or comply with emergency orders might be held liable for a fine of up to $2,500.

The order says that fire chiefs serving the various fire jurisdictions of Wayne County have reported responding to numerous wildfires that have occurred throughout the county which have threatened nearby persons and property and that many of these fires have resulted from open burning. It also noted that local fire chiefs and members of the Wayne County Firefighters’ Association have requested action by the Board of Commissioners to prohibit open burning in order to reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires.

Wayne County has been the site of a couple of large field fires in recent days.

One took place Sept. 20 in the area of Round Barn and College Corner in Centerville that threatened a nearby residence and business. The farmer, using his disk, took quick action and saved the home and business, but lost a large amount of soybeans. Centerville Fire/Rescue as well as Abington, Webster, Greens Fork, Williamsburg and Richmond departments responded, with assistance from Centerville Police, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Red Line EMS, Reid Health EMS, Jim Scott and other citizens.

A Sept. 23 fire reportedly started as a controlled burn of a barn on Sugar Grove Road spread to a field, bringing in area departments as well.

To find out more information about the burn ban or request other assistance, call Wayne County Emergency Management Agency at (765) 973-9399, or Wayne County Commissioners at (765) 973-9327.

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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.