Residents in nine counties in northwest Iowa are being warned not to set fire to those piles of leaves they’ve raked, or anything else. Meteorologist Todd Heitkamp, at the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, says there’s a high risk of sparking a fast-spreading wildfire and everyone needs to use caution.
Heitkamp says, “Areas of northwest Iowa are under extreme fire danger due to the extreme dry conditions and the increasing wind speeds that we are expecting today as well as continuing on into Tuesday and Wednesday.” The nine counties with the most threatening conditions for fire are: Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Cherokee, Buena Bista and Ida.
Resident in other counties across much of northern, central and western Iowa need to be particularly cautious with fire and any outdoor burning. “A lot of dead, dry vegetation that remains across northwest Iowa and any remaining harvest that needs to be done,” Heitkamp says.
“People need to be aware of that as well as people driving around throwing out cigarette butts, being aware of what they can actually cause. In a situation like this, once a fire starts, it can spread rapidly.” The forecast says the next chance of rain for that region won’t be until Friday or Saturday.