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Caution: Dry conditions can increase chances for starting fires

Published: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 10:49 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 11:21 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Contributed photo)
The soil in a flower bed five miles west of Macksburg is dry and cracked open because of moderate to severe drought conditions in southwest Iowa.

The Creston Fire Department urges people to be more diligent in watching for fires while Union County and surrounding areas remain in severe to moderate drought conditions.

“With the dry conditions, it is important to watch fires to make sure they don’t get out of control,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mick Landers. “Even small embers can start a fire in dry conditions.”

Landers said anyone burning waste debris or light brush should be particularly cautious and supervise the burn. Another area of fire concern for Landers is farmers returning to the fields for harvest.

“We encourage farmers to keep equipment clean, especially around the bearings where it can get warm,” Landers said.

The increase in temperature to end August and start September took its toll on an already thirsty crop. With minimal chances for decent rainfall in the forecast, the potential for field fires are at higher risk as the crops dry out.

“With the late heat, I expect the crops to dry out faster,” Landers said.

As fall approaches, hunting traffic increases in rural areas that may have tall, dry grass or remnants of harvested crops.

“Exhausts are known to start fires,” Landers said. “Also, discarding cigarettes while driving or walking through the field is another hazard.”

Tailgate time

With RVTV coming to town Monday and football season kicking off, fans wanting to tailgate or host backyard barbecues need to make sure to stay clear of dry vegetation.

Some Iowa counties have put burn bans into effect. Landers said Crestonians need to be aware of the city’s burn ordinance.

Residence are not allowed to burn cardboard, paper or lumber. Waste and small branches are allowed. Anyone with questions about what is eligible to burn can contact the Creston Fire Department.

“There is no burn ban to keep people from doing what they are doing,” Landers said. “We just ask that you do watch for fire and make sure it doesn’t get out of control.”

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