A field fire in northwest Iowa this week caused more than half a million dollars in damage and, in southeast Iowa, three area fire departments were dispatched to battle a blaze in a field being harvested. Five northwest Iowa counties currently have burn bans in place.

“Probably the lack moisture heading this way in the next week or so, we’ll probably see some more be posted,” says State Fire Marshal Dan Wood.

The latest Iowa Drought Monitor report shows 80% of Iowa is considered abnormally dry or experiencing some level of drought. The state fire marshal is urging Iowans to think about fire safety outdoors.

“Be careful when you’re discarding your smoking materials,” Wood says. “If you’re burning outside, be careful of what’s around you.”

Corn and soybean fields at harvest time can unfortunately be a source of kindling, according to Wood.

“Farmers know to keep their equipment in good working order and as clean as they can,” Wood says. “It’s hard to do, I know, when you’re combining, but the housekeeping helps out and and keeps the combines going down the field and keeps everybody safe.”

A combine and up to 50 acres of soybeans were destroyed in a field fire near Sibley on Sunday and a Tuesday afternoon fire swept across a field near Packwood. In both cases, fire officials credited local farmers for using implements called discs to cut fire breaks in the soil that contained the fires.

Radio Iowa