Open Burning Ban In Effect
After the rash of field fires last week, local authorities have announced that Palo Alto County has joined 10 other Northwest Iowa counties in placing bans on all open burning until further notice.
Nearly every fire department in Palo Alto County was called out on Sept. 29 to battle fires that burned both corn and soybean fields. Extremely dry conditions, coupled with winds gusting in excess of 50 miles per hour, made firefighting a challenge.
Along with Palo Alto County, Emmet and Osceola counties are the latest counties to place bans on opening burning, as well as Clay and Dickinson counties. Also enacting burning bans are the counties Buena Vista, Cherokee, Ida, O’Brien, Plymouth and Sioux counties in northwest Iowa.
Due to the lack of measureable rainfall, and the unseasonable temperatures of the past few days, along with winds this week, the National Weather Service has indicated that the grassland fire index for Northwestern Iowa is in the Moderate to Severe range, meaning conditions are quite favorable for open land fires. To try and head off the possibilities of wild fires, the burning bans that are now in effect will remain in place until further notice, or until such time that a significant rain falls.
Authorities indicate that additional counties are expected to announce open burning bans in upcoming days due to the potential fire danger that exists in the area.
At the same time, farmers are being urged to consider having tillage implements handy in fields being harvested as a precaution in case a fire should start in a field. A disc or field cultivator turning the soil can effectively fight a field fire quicker and more effectively than firefighters and water, and can respond in a much more timely manner.
Farmers are also urged to keep their combines clear of chaff buildup and to carry a fully-charged, functional fire extinguisher as they harvest their crops.