scott-county-em-logoIt may have seemed like “water, water everywhere,” but it’s been drier than you’d think in one eastern Iowa county. A ban on open burning in Scott County that went into effect nine days ago was lifted last night.

“We had a lot of rain statewide, but we did not have a lot of rain in Scott County,” says Dave Donovan, Scott County’s emergency management director.

The “burn ban” took effect Tuesday, September 27 after Donovan surveyed fire chiefs in Scott County.

“We had two or three consecutive days where there was a pretty strong, sustained wind which dried things out further,” Donovan says. “…When that happens at this time of year, especially during harvest, we begin to think about the risk of fire.”

Just as he sent an email about the open burning ban to state officials, he heard crews dispatched to a corn field north of Le Claire to fight a fire there.

“It was very odd how that all happened,” Donovan says. “…It just sort of supported the idea that there is increased risk at this time of year, especially if there is dry crop in the field.”

That field fire was not caused by open burning, by the way. For the past nine days, Scott County residents were asked to refrain from burning leaves, lawn or tree debris and garbage outdoors. Rain fell earlier this week in Scott County.

“Light rain, but it lasted nearly an entire day,” Donovan says.

Those caught burning items without proper precautions during an open burning ban can be charged with a simple misdemeanor. Donovan says issuing a ban on open burning heightens awareness about fire dangers, like overheated combines that can spark a fire.