- Special Sections
- Public Notices
With drought conditions worsening, the cities of Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove enacted burn bans Monday. Hardin County government issued a similar declaration Tuesday morning.
The bans prohibit outdoor burning until the area sees more rainfall.
“The moderate drought conditions that exist, with no rain in the immediate forecast, make any outdoor burning very hazardous due to the potential for rapid spread of flame in even short grass,” Elizabethtown Chief Fire Inspector Rusty Todd said in a statement issued on behalf of the three departments.
The cities' initial news release Monday also listed a ban on personal fireworks use in effect with only nine days before Fourth of July celebrations. After further discussions among the departments Monday, the fireworks ban was nixed in part because of the difficulty to enforce the restriction, Todd said.
Radcliff spokesman Bryce Shumate said the ban would be burdensome upon a number of legally licensed businesses selling fireworks for the upcoming holiday.
Vine Grove Fire Chief Steve New urged extreme caution for residents planning to use fireworks because of dry conditions.
“They should use caution all of the time, but especially right now,” he said.
Todd urged residents to forgo personal fireworks use and attend a professional display such as the city-sponsored activities at Freeman Lake Park. He said that’s a means to avoid possible physical and financial disasters if something goes wrong.
The word of a possible ban alarmed some fireworks retailers. Mick LaGrange, owner of Mauckport Fireworks Too between Elizabethtown and Radcliff, said a prohibition on fireworks use through the holiday could be debilitating for his business.
Mauckport stocks more than 200 items, and LaGrange said he would be left with a lot of inventory if rain does not come.
“It could be crippling if people cannot (use fireworks),” he said.
LaGrange said some of his customers would have bought fireworks for later use, but a ban still would have put a “catastrophic” burden on his sales.
LaGrange said his businesses have sold under burn bans in which cities permitted the wrong type of fireworks, usually fountains and non-aerial products. LaGrange said the ground fireworks are more likely to cause fires than aerial displays.
Sabrina Spencer, who manages a fireworks tent at the corner of French and Mulberry streets in Elizabethtown, was unsure of the potential ramifications a burn ban could have on her business.
Todd said the departments have not identified an amount of rain needed to rescind the ban, but he said a “15-minute shower” will not be enough to ward off dry conditions because the water, exposed to the sun and wind, can dissipate in a short amount of time with no measurable benefit.
A “soaking rain” powerful enough to remove the dry characteristics of vegetation will be needed, he said.
Unfortunately, Todd said, there are no large amounts of rainfall forecast in the immediate future, but he is hopeful the cities could receive a significant storm by July 1.
Todd urged everyone to limit use of fire — save for cooking purposes — until the ban is lifted. When grilling, Todd said residents should extinguish embers before disposal by fully soaking them with water. Some embers can feel cool to the touch but still smolder inside.
Fire pits and recreational fires are prohibited during the ban, and burn permits will not be issued.
“Even a carelessly discarded cigarette that is lit can ignite a vegetation fire,” Todd said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.