Emergency Mgmt. Officials warn of dangerous fire conditions today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is telling residents of the county that outdoor burning will not be permitted AT ALL, today. The County is one of several in far western Iowa to be placed under a “Red Flag Warning” for this afternoon and this evening. The warning is in effect from Noon until 7-p.m.  Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert said all Fire Danger indicators will be in the “Extreme” category this afternoon, because any fires that do develop, can move rapidly. He say the amount of “fuel” in the fields and the dry conditions indicate that if fires do develop, they could move into communities, much like they have in the western states of Colorado, Nebraska, and to our south, in Oklahoma.

The county has been in the “High” Fire Danger category for several weeks now, and  Sievert says citizens have been very mindful of the dangers and cooperative. He says his agency has had a lot of cooperation from the public in calling in their need to burn, and connecting them with their local fire chief so they can conduct a burn safely. Seivert encourages people who want to burn – not today, as no burning is allowed – in the future, to call 755-2124 so that officials can ensure the burn is safe and conducted according to standards.

Seivert says officials in Shelby County began preparing for today’s Extreme Fire Danger threat, Tuesday night. He says meeting have taken place with the fire chiefs and fire officers in Shelby and surrounding Counties, as well as elected officials. The parameters that exist today and how they differ from other fire emergencies were outlined during those sessions. Seivert warns of what could happen if a fire does develop during the extremely dry, and windy conditions that are expected today. He says they may be asking citizens to leave their homes and move to a safer location, to get them out of harms way.”

Cass County is not included in a Red Flag warning. Instead we are in an “Enhanced Fire Danger” category. Cass County Emergency Manager Mike Kennon told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting this morning, that citizens here need to be wary of the danger faced by fast growing fires, as well. He says you should refrain from outdoor burning, and issued a reminder the County is and has been under a Burn Ban for quite some time. Kennon says Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman is using a Wildland Fire Dispatch procedures. That means if there’s a grass fire, neighboring fire stations will be dispatched for mutual aid. That includes those from communities in the southern part of Cass County.