Unseasonably warm temperatures and windy conditions create the potential for fire in fields and pastures this time of year. David City Fire Chief Matt Hilger said that anyone who has plans for controlled burns needs to look beyond one day's forecast.
"The biggest concern is paying attention to the wind forecast for seven days after burning,” Hilger said. “This time of year it's almost always a burn permit that rekindles days after it's thought to be out because of the high wind gusts we get. So just because the wind is supposed to be low the day you burn and perhaps the day after, that's not good enough. The best thing to do is bury the ashes and embers once it's done burning.”
Those who use burn barrels and backyard fire pits also need to make sure their fires are completely doused, Hilger said.
“Common sense comes in handy,” he said.
Citing an unusual pattern of unseasonably warm temperatures, US Forest Service fire officials urge all visitors of national forests, grasslands and other park areas to practice fire safety. Most portions of western Nebraska and South Dakota saw temperatures above 70 degrees on Monday.
Scott Bovey, fire management officer (FMO) for the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands said, “It is unusual to be this late in the year and to continue to have very high fire potential. It is equally unusual to have these conditions on all Districts of our forest, considering we span from western to central Nebraska as well as western to central South Dakota.”
According to Great Plains Interagency Dispatch Center, across the entire region there have been eleven wild land fires during the past month. Even though none of the wildfires burned large areas or buildings, fire potential and danger remains high.