Safety needed during dry conditions
Southeastern Iowa is still listed as being in a severe drought stage, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Web site. The dry conditions also bring an increased risk for grass fires.
Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide said the conditions might be even drier than last year. However, he hasn’t seen an increase in grass fire reports.
“It varies from year to year, depending on the conditions,” Wide said. “We haven’t had a problem. Everybody has been pretty cautious.”
Thursday afternoon the Washington Fire Department responded to a grass fire in the 2500 block of Sockum Ridge Road twice.
It started because a neighbor was burning trash, and with the windy conditions, the sparks blew to the field nearby, Wide said. The firefighters returned a second time because some hot spots rekindled and the fire needed to be extinguished again.
Wide suggests people consider the drier conditions when they are thinking about burning things such as yard clippings or trash.
“There isn’t a safe way to burn,” he said. “What I would say is refrain from burning at all.”
When asked if he thought there would be a need for a burn ban, Wide said no.
If a burn ban were issued for Washington County, the Washington County Supervisors and the fire chiefs would be the ones to issue it, said Washington County sheriff Jerry Dunbar at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3.