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Burn ban likely to go through July Fourth as fireworks sales fizzle

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Anyone who sees a person setting off fireworks in a park is asked to call 427-1222 and report it immediately.

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 12:01 am

Fireworks store owners say their sales have been down in the past couple of weeks. The reason they give: Allen County's burn ban has put a damper on buyer enthusiasm. Any hope of recovery seems dim with the burn ban expected to be extended through July Fourth.

According to a Fort Wayne ordinance, fireworks can be set off from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset Friday-Tuesday and July 5-9. They can be used 10 a.m.-midnight July Fourth. Use outside of these times could result in a fine between $150 and $500.

However, most of northeast Indiana is experiencing a severe drought, and on June 15 Allen County Commissioners passed a burn ban that places restrictions on residential grilling, campfires/fire pits, bonfires and fireworks. Under this ban, lighting fireworks is illegal except by professionals who have received permits.

Allen County Commissioners spokesman Mike Green says this ban is still in effect and will likely be extended through July Fourth. Green adds that the state law allowing the discharge of fireworks applies only when conditions are safe for it. But he says that conditions “are far from right.”

The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department issued a release Wednesday stating that fireworks are never allowed in city parks. The department warns that the ordinance will be enforced and asked for people to report scofflaws.

Tennessee Fireworks at 6404 E. State Blvd. reminds residents that it is still legal to buy fireworks. Tennessee Fireworks will be holding a free fire safety seminar at 7 tonight in Georgetown Square.

Even though sales are low now, firework stores are still not worried. USA Fireworks cashier Derek Gunter says that he is hoping for rain to lift the burn ban, but planning on business at the Hillegas Road store to pick up the week of July Fourth.

According to the National Weather Service, the forecast isn't looking good for his hopes. No rain is forecast and high temperatures are expected to be in the 90s through Independence Day.