Fire fighters in the area had to put out six different outdoor fires on Monday. Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Specialist Michell Bose says 12 of the 15 departments in Pottawattamie County were dispatched and deputies from the sheriff’s office and county conservation officers had to assist.
“People that are burning trash, things like that — just the sparks,” she says. “The conditions are just so dry, (fires) are able to get out of control very quickly.”
Four citations were issued to county residents for open burning on Monday. Controlled burns in brick, metal, or heavily wired fire pits are permitted, but Bose says given the arid conditions, it’s risky to do any kind of burning outdoors — including field fires planned to clear cropland.
“I do know that we do possibly have some precipitation that’s coming in like around this weekend,” Bose said. “We’re looking at possibly having some snow coming on Sunday, but still — again — we are so dry and still kind of in a drought condition at this time that it’s hard to tell exactly when we are going to have enough precipitation that’s going to get the moisture there that’s not going to make those fields so readily ignitable.”
Bose says drought conditions have been all too familiar for more than a year now in western Iowa. The State Fire Marshal’s Office shows open burning is currently banned in the following counties: Plymouth, Woodbury, Monona, Crawford, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Mills, Warren, Clarke.
(By Ryan Matheny, KMA, Shenandoah)