Chesterton Tribune



High winds and illegal burns causing brush fires in Porter

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Brush fires have been keeping the Porter Fire Department busy since high winds began blowing through Duneland on Monday.

The most serious blaze: a potential conflagration on Monday afternoon, when wind gusts churned up leaves being burned in a pit by a resident of the 1100 block of Old Porter Road, Fire Chief Lewis Craig told the Chesterton Tribune today.

The PFD responded to the scene at 2:09 p.m. and promptly requested assistance from the Chesterton, Burns Harbor, and National Park Service fire departments, after burning leaves blew beneath the porch of a home in the neighborhood--“someone else’s home,” Craig noted.

“We thought we were going to have a disaster,” Craig said. “Three houses were in jeopardy.”

Firefighters used at least 1,000 gallons of water to douse the blaze and save the homes.

The leaf burner was issued a citation by the Porter Police Department, Craig said. The PFD cleared the scene at 3:06 p.m.

It is illegal in Northwest Indiana--as non-attainment area--to burn leaves, brush, or other yard debris. Residents may burn recreational camp fires.

A second Porter resident was cited on Tuesday, for the same reason, Craig said: an open burn which started a brush fire, at Second Street and Main Street.

The PFD was dispatched late in the afternoon, after a man burning sticks in his yard “turned away for a moment to call his buddy,” Craig said. “When he turned back, the grass was on fire.”

An area less than an acre was affected and the fire was doused with 270 gallons of water, Craig said.

Assisting at the scene, under an automatic aid agreement: the National Park Service department.

The PFD, assisting the BHFD at 12:10 p.m. Monday, responded to a third brush fire, this one behind The Brown Bag on U.S. Highway 12, where someone--Craig is unsure who--was doing welding work on train cars. The PFD dispatched two ATVs--each fitted with a 25-gallon water tank--to the scene, located between an ArcelorMittal access road and the South Shore right-of-way.

The PFD cleared the scene at 1:03 p.m.


Posted 4/2/2014