AREA COUNTIES: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD
603 AM CDT SUN MAR 30 2014
…ELEVATED FIRE DANGER THIS AFTERNOON…
STRONG SOUTH WINDS OF 25 TO 30 MPH…WITH GUSTS NEAR 40 MPH AT
TIMES…WILL DEVELOP ACROSS THE AREA LATE THIS MORNING AND
AFTERNOON. THE GUSTY WINDS WILL PERSIST THROUGH EARLY EVENING. IN
ADDITION…RATHER DRY AIR IS EXPECTED ACROSS THE AREA WITH
RELATIVE HUMIDITY FALLING TO AROUND 30 TO 35 PERCENT AT TIMES
TODAY FROM NOON THROUGH EARLY EVENING. THIS WILL LEAD TO AN
ENHANCED FIRE DANGER…WITH ANY FIRES THAT START EXPECTED TO
SPREAD RAPIDLY. BURNING IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED TODAY.
SIMILAR CONDITIONS WILL RETURN TO SOUTHWEST AREAS MONDAY WITH
GUSTY WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Friday, released their latest precipitation information and drought report. Officials say the past two weeks have been unusually dry across most of Iowa. The statewide average precipitation was 0.19 inches, while normal for the period is 1.01 inches. Salem in Henry County in southeast Iowa was one exception, receiving over an inch during this period. Precipitation in Cass and surrounding Counties is 10-percent below normal for the period covering March 12th through the 26th.
About seven percent of the state remains in severe drought, while about half of the state is rated in moderate drought, including most of western and southern Iowa, with the exception of Adair, Guthrie and Dallas Counties, which are “Abnormally Dry.” This is reflected in the drop of average stream flow in Iowa. Recent rains are reflected in the stream flow index upturn for the past few days.
South of Interstate 80, ice is almost completely gone from rivers. Iowa DNR fisheries biologists continue to monitor oxygen levels in many waters and have seen some slight improvements in some places. Considerable areas of ice remain in northern Iowa.
For a more thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends March 12th through March 26th, go to http://www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court says an attorney won’t be sanctioned for helping a wealthy farmer shield his assets from the estate of another farmer he killed. The court declined to reprimand Indianola attorney Mason Ouderkirk, ruling Friday he didn’t violate ethical rules while representing Rodney Heemstra.
Heemstra fatally shot his neighbor, Tommy Lyon, in 2003 during a dispute over farmland and then hid his body. He was convicted of first-degree murder but later granted a second trial, where he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. After Heemstra was charged, Ouderkirk assisted his family in transferring ownership of millions of dollars of farmland into trusts.
A judge later ruled that those transactions were fraudulent and designed to shield assets from Lyon’s estate, which had been awarded millions in a wrongful-death lawsuit.
Authorities in Fremont County report one person was recently arrested on a felony theft charge associated with the theft and sale of grain. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office says 41-year old Kelley Ryan Roof, of Tabor, was charged with 1st degree theft, a Class-C felony, following the execution of a search warrant at his residence. His cash bond was set at $40-thousand.
His arrest was the result of an investigation into a tip from a concerned citizen authorities received on March 13th. The individual told authorities about a possible theft of grain from the Fremont County area. During the investigation, it was discovered Roof allegedly took without permission, 2,230-bushels of soybeans from a Randolph area farmer. Roof is alleged to have sold the beans for more than $31-thousand.
During the search of his property, authorized seized a 2014 Polaris RZR purchased with the proceeds of the alleged theft. Roof remains in the Fremont County Jail.
Shelby County Emergency Management officials say light rain and drizzle this (Thursday) morning will give way to sunshine and strong winds this weekend. Rapid drying of the dead vegetation will occur returning, causing a higher threat for fires to spread. Therefore the Fire Danger placards in area businesses will remain in the “High” category, through Monday morning.
A fire Wednesday evening burned over 300 acres. The flames were fanned by winds in excess of 30-mph. The Shelby County EMA asks residents to please call ahead and report your burning plans to the EMA office at 712-755-2124.
Authorities in Shelby County have released more information about a large fire that took place Wednesday evening. As we have reported, crews from Kirkman, Harlan, Irwin and Defiance Fire Departments responded to the blaze near 1541 Redwood Road, at around 5:35-p.m., Wednesday. Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and Emergency Management officials also responded.
Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says initial units reported a large grass fire spreading rapidly to the Norhtheast. Winds at time of ignition taken from the Irwin Weather Station were reported to be out of the South, Southwest, gusting at 39-MPH. Peak wind speed during the Initial Attack was recorded at 51-MPH. Irwin Fire Chief Lynn Gaskill, Incident Commander for the fire requested additional assistance for water tankers, and grass trucks from Manilla Fire Dept, Manning Fire Dept, and Kimballton Fire Departments. Additional help from local farmers with disc arrived on scene throughout the evening.
The fire traveled 1.7 miles crossing 1800th where fire departments attempted to hold the fire. As a precaution approximately14 area residents were asked to evacuate to a shelter in Harlan, IA. Shelby County Public Health and the City of Harlan opened and staffed the shelter at the request of Shelby County Emergency Management. After the fire was contained, units were called back out at approximately10:30-p.m., for a flare up.
Roads in the area were temporarily closed to assist in the firefighting effort, and Shelby County Secondary Roads personnel responded to assist with staffing road blocks. Wives of the Irwin Firefighters and others in the Irwin community set up a canteen at the Irwin Community Center to provide water and food for the firefighter who were on scene for over 4 hours.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, and mapping of acreage will be completed today (Thursday). It is estimated to be over 300 acres in size. No injuries to fire firefighters were reported and no damage to outbuildings occurred.
Despite the explosive fire growth conditions in the area over the past few days, Atlantic Fire Chief Mark McNees doesn’t see the need for a County-wide ban on opening burning. McNees told KJAN News the fire that started east of Atlantic Wednesday afternoon was accidental, and not open burning-related. It was one of several fires in western Iowa that burned quickly and intensely, Wednesday. McNees said it’s not as bad in Cass County as in other counties which have instituted bans on open burning.
He says things are “greening-up,” slowly and people are being smart. He says residents are heeding advice given earlier this week to know when you are going to burn, check the weather, call your local fire chief and the Cass County Communications Center.
McNees still cautions residents of Cass County to be careful, and try to give Mother Nature a little more time to green-up the grasses, which will reduce the danger of fires spreading, as opposed to the dry conditions we are currently experiencing. He says if there were crops standing in the fields, he would be more concerned about fires spreading. Wednesday was just an “extreme day,” according to McNees, where all of the elements necessary for the eruption of rapidly expanding fires, were present.