Officials with the Atlantic Fire Department put out a plea on their social media website, asking residents not to do any open burning “Of any type, or discard of any smoking material. This includes burning trash!!” Recent and continuing high, sustained winds and dry conditions have contributed to many fires across southwest Iowa. The AFVD says they hope that by spreading the word on open burning and being safe in discarding smoking materials, and will voluntary compliance, authorities will not have to issue a Burn Ban.
A carelessly discarded cigarette from a passing vehicle is being blamed for a large grass fire that occurred Monday afternoon north of Interstate 80, in Adair County. Adair Fire Chief Jordan Smith told KJAN News the fire started about two-miles east of the Adair Exit (77.5-mile marker) and was first paged out just before 3-pm, Monday. Smith said with the way the wind was blowing, the fire burned east-northeast along and north of the Interstate for about 2-miles. Firefighters managed to get the flames knocked down before they reached the westbound rest area, but not before the fire jumped 2 gravels roads as it raged eastward.
After the flames jumped one gravel road, and destroyed large, round hay bales. He said 50-to 60 bales were lost. Smith said hay bale fires are almost impossible to extinguish unless you spread them out and hose them down, which is dangerous and time consuming. A neighboring farmer who has construction equipment used his excavator and dug a big hole to dump the bales in and cover them up, allow the fire to be snuffed out.
Three firefighters from Adair suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze. Smith says two had smoke inhalation, with another had minor burns to his face. The thick curtain of smoke created problems for motorists along Interstate 80. Visibility along the interstate was down to zero at time. Several law enforcement agencies were requested for traffic control. The eye-catching fire also attracted “rubber-neckers,” who Smith says can be a real hindrance to fire fighting efforts, and endanger lives.
Smith says firefighters from Adair, Casey, Stuart, Menlo, Anita, Wiota, Greenfield, Bridgewater, and Fontanelle were on the scene for about 5-hours, finally wrapping things up at around 8-pm, Monday.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The number of acres devoted to corn is expected to shrink about 4 percent this year as farmers devote more of their land to soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual forecast Monday of what farmers plan to plant. The USDA says it expects 91.7 million acres of corn to be planted this year, down from 95.37 million acres last year.
The number of acres devoted to soybeans is expected to grow about 6 percent to 81.5 million acres from last year’s 76.5 million acres. Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser says farmers are responding to predictions for tight soybean supplies and relatively high crop prices. Gaesser, who serves as president of the American Soybean Association, says demand for soybeans is clearly high going into this year.
The Fire Danger signs throughout Shelby County will remain in the HIGH category this week. Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says although the County experienced some precipitation (.30”) in the last 24 hours, the placards will remain in the HIGH category due to predicted winds, and lower Relative Humidity today.
Seivert says until we get more green grasses growing, the fine dead fuels will continue to pose a HIGH fire danger with wind, and low humidity. Officials are asking residents to postpone burning until at least Thursday.
If you must burn, contact your local Fire Chief to make sure that are made aware, and provides authorization for the burn. If a burn is allowed to occur we ask the Chief to call 712-755-2124 and advise the Communications Center that a burn will take place.
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.