Rain fails to fall in Shelby County: Fire Danger is still HIGH

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Much anticipated rainfall following the passage of a cold front failed to materialize across much of western Iowa Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. As a result, Shelby County Emergency Management Officials say the Fire Danger level will remain in the “HIGH” category through Monday, July 30th.  Jason Wickizer, Emergency Medical Services Coordinator at the Shelby County EMA, told KJAN News the rains in his county were “very spotty.”

Wickizer said the Fire Danger rating in Shelby County is based on input from local fire chiefs and the Emergency Manager, and weather factors. He says the County has experienced high temperatures, low humidity during the afternoon, and abundant natural fuel –in the form of dry grass and crops – due to the low rainfall. Wickizer says even though some rain is in the forecast for this weekend, that doesn’t mean the Fire Danger threat will be reduced prior to Monday.

Signs indicating the increased fire threat are located at fire stations within the County, and on the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency’s website, at www.shelbycountyema.com.  Shelby County is currently not included in a ban on open burning. Wickizer said that’s because they are using the “Fire Danger” signs as a “public education tool.” He said since they have not seen an increase in fires, they will use the signs instead of asking the State Fire Marshal’s Office for an open burning ban. The purpose of the Fire Danger signs, according to Wickizer, is to cut down on instances where people start fires on their property, and have numerous fire trucks show-up when it is a non-emergency situation.

He says anyone who wants to conduct any type of open burning outside, on their property, should contact the Shelby County EMA at 712-755-2124, and inform the on-duty dispatcher of your intentions. The dispatcher will put residents in contact with their local fire chief. Permission for you to conduct an open burn is at the sole discretion of your fire chief.