GREENCASTLE -- Drought conditions in the state have led 62 counties to enact some sort of burn ban as of Oct. 1.
The Putnam County commissioners are prepared to make it 63 if necessary.
At Monday's commissioners' meeting, County Planner Kim Hyten passed out information from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security regarding burn bans as well as a disaster emergency proclamation the planning department has prepared.
The proclamation would apply to unincorporated areas, as Hyten said local fire chiefs are responsible for declaring burn bans in cities and towns.
"Municipalities will have to accomplish this on their own, which we will provide them (help) if they need it," Hyten said.
Commissioner Jim Baird said the matter had been considered late last week, but Saturday's rains have changed the thinking slightly. Hyten said he wasn't sure it was enough rain to make a difference.
Since this is considered an emergency situation, commissioners do not need a public meeting to declare a burn restriction. Instead, it would be handled in the same way travel is restricted during snow emergencies.
If declared, the emergency would restrict campfires and other recreational fires, except when enclosed in a fire ring 23 inches in diameter and 10 inches high or larger; open burning of any kind using wood or other combustible matter, with the exception of grills fueled by charcoal or propane; and burning of debris such as timber, vegetation or building materials.
Burning in barrels would require a mesh top and only be allowed from dawn until dusk.
According to Homeland Security, Clay, Owen, Morgan, Hendricks and Montgomery have all declared countywide burn bans. Parke is the only county adjacent to Putnam with no current restriction.