State officials are cautioning Iowans to be especially careful with outdoor fires. Eight Iowa counties currently have burn bans and more are expected to be added throughout the week.
“If people can get away without burning trash, burn barrells, wood piles, anything like that that’s going to create heat or a spark or an ember that’s going to travel in the winds and land in dry grass — put it off ’til these burn bans are lifted,” says Ron Humphrey, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal.
Farmers also need to be vigilant as they harvest corn and soybeans according to Humphrey.
“Dry conditions and heat from the engines on these machinery or trucks, especially when they’re sitting in a place for a long time (can) overheat and catch the grass on fire,” Humphrey says. “We suggest (the following): keep the machinery clean and in good condition; try to stay on dirt roads if at all possible; and try not to park vehicles or equipment in tall grass or dry grass.”
Humphrey says the combination of dry plants and a strong wind last week resulted in more than a dozen fires in farm fields in northwest Iowa. As of this afternoon, burn bans were in effect for the following counties: Butler, Cherokee, Clay, Jasper, Marshall, O’Brien, Plymouth and Story County.
Check the State Fire Marshal’s website for the latest burn ban information (scroll to the bottom of the page to see a map of Iowa with the “burn ban” counties).