WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Titan Machinery says it is closing eight construction stores across the country, including two locations in Iowa. The company based in West Fargo, North Dakota on Thursday cited a slow recovery in construction sector among the reasons for the move, which will leave 128 people unemployed. The stores being closed are located in Clear Lake and Oskaloosa, Iowa; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Flagstaff, Arizona; Rosemount, Minnesota; and Helena, Bozeman, and Big Sky, Montana. All locations will cease operations by the end of April.
The company sells and rents agriculture and construction equipment. CEO David Meyer says the decision will help the company improve its pre-tax profits. The company says affected employees will receive benefits and severance package and the option to apply for jobs at nearby stores. Titan Machinery will continue to operate 96 stores in the U.S.
AREA COUNTIES: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR
1049 AM CDT THU APR 10 2014
…ELEVATED FIRE DANGER ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL IOWA TODAY…
NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE FURTHER AND BECOME GUSTY BY THIS
AFTERNOON…ALONG WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITY FALLING INTO THE 20S.
THIS COMBINATION OF WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL PRODUCE
AN ELEVATED FIRE DANGER TODAY. THE MOST FAVORABLE CONDITIONS WILL
EXIST DURING THE AFTERNOON. WINDS WILL DIE OFF QUICKLY THIS
EVENING WITH RAPIDLY IMPROVING FIRE CONDITIONS.
Firefighters in Montgomery County had a very busy day, Wednesday. Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman reports firefighters from Stanton were finishing up with a previous field fire at around 2-p.m., when they noticed heavy smoke south of Stanton. A crew from Stanton responded to investigate the area and found a large fire in a field in the area of 110th Street and M Avenue, in Page County.
Fire crews from Essex, Red Oak, and Villisca assisted on the scene for several hours. Multiple tractors with discs also aided with controlling the fire. While this was ongoing, a rekindle of a previous fire west of Stanton occurred and a second crew from Red Oak and Stanton were able to control the fire in a short amount of time. The cause of this fire appears to have been from previous burn pile that was reignited by strong winds.
Earlier in the day, the Villisca Fire Department was paged to a small waterway on fire around 8:30-a.m., and another fire around 11-a.m., in Villisca. Stanton was paged almost simultaneously to two separate field/ditch fires around 11:30-a.m. The first was a half mile south of Stanton on O Ave and the second fire was west of Stanton on the train tracks around 220th Street and M Ave. Fire crews from Red Oak and Villisca Fire assisted Stanton Fire on both fires, using with grass trucks and tankers.
Although most of fires were unintentionally set, some were from old burns that had taken place or others were set and left. Red Flag conditions were in effect Wednesday. When that type of warning is in-place, no one should conduct any outdoor burning, at any time.
There were also reports of field fires in Shelby County, and near the Lake Anita Dam in Cass County, Wednesday afternoon.
Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency have moved the county’s “Fire Danger” Index to “HIGH” until further notice. Dry and windy weather conditions prompted the change. All open burning is prohibited in Shelby County until the danger of rapidly spreading grass and field fires is reduced.
The entire KJAN listening area is under a Red Flag Warning for critical fire weather conditions, meaning that any outdoor burning which occurs either intentionally or by accident, can spread in an explosive manner, due to low humidity, dry grasses and timber, and very gusty winds.
Similar conditions Tuesday afternoon helped to spread a 15-acre fire in Montgomery County into a 30-acre fire. Emergency Manager Brian Hamman reports the Red Oak Fire Department was paged to a possible field fire just before 4-p.m., Tuesday, in the area of 230th Street and J Avenue.
Hamman says upon arrival, crews found nearly 15 acres of corn stalk stubble on fire, with flames moving rapidly to the south. Mutual aid was requested from the Stanton Fire Dept., and multiple tractors with discs were used to stop the spread of the flames. A total of 30 acres burned and crews were on scene for roughly three-hours.
Hamman says a hot exhaust pipe that was sitting in the field while workers were marking terraces caused the fire. Once the crew noticed the fire, they attempted to extinguish it with their fire extinguisher but were unable to do so due to the strong winds and dry conditions. The Fire Weather Index was in the Very High category at the time.
The Fourth of July holiday is in the reservation window for state park campsites and while there are currently plenty of options, campers shouldn’t wait as sites can go quickly. Todd Coffelt, chief of state parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “Our parks have a lot to offer and no two parks are the same. If your favorite park has filled, give a different park a try.” To find a campsite, go to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/
As of Tuesday morning, reservable campsites with electricity have been filled at Clear Lake, Elinor Bedell, Emerson Bay, Gull Point, Lake Macbride and Lewis and Clark, near Onawa. Campers wanting to stay in those parks for the holiday will need to arrive early to secure a walk in site.
A few other state parks are close to filling reserved sites. Ledges and McIntosh Woods each have one reservable handicap site available. Viking Lake has one electrical site; Lake of Three Fires has two; George Wyth, Lake Wapello, Maquoketa Caves and Stone have three; and Green Valley has four. Dolliver Memorial, Union Grove and Wapsipinicon each have five electrical sites; Backbone and Lake Manawa have six; and Bellevue has seven.
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT/ NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA 413 PM CDT TUE APR 8 2014
…ELEVATED FIRE DANGER LATE WEDNESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON…
WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE REGION LATE WEDNESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. WITH SOUTHWEST WINDS EXPECTED TO INCREASE TO 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO NEAR 35 MPH AT TIMES. WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING TO NEAR 25 TO 35 PERCENT DURING THE DAY…AN ELEVATED FIRE DANGER WILL DEVELOP ACROSS THE REGION BY LATE MORNING AND PERSIST THROUGH THE LATE AFTERNOON HOURS.
OUTDOOR BURNING IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED WEDNESDAY. THE COMBINATION OF BREEZY SOUTHWEST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL RESULT IN THE POTENTIAL FOR A RAPID SPREAD OF FIRE OR FIRE THAT BECOMES QUICKLY OUT OF CONTROL.
URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OMAHA/VALLEY NE
331 PM CDT TUE APR 8 2014
…CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS EXPECTED FOR WEDNESDAY…
A WARM AND DRY AIRMASS WILL BE OVER THE REGION WEDNESDAY. THIS AIRMASS COMBINED WITH SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH AND AVAILABLE FUELS/DRY GRASSES…SHOULD ELEVATE FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS INTO THE RED FLAG WARNING RANGE.
…RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM CDT WEDNESDAY FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN OMAHA/VALLEY HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM CDT WEDNESDAY. THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* WINDS…SOUTHWEST 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AS LOW AS 15 PERCENT.
* IMPACTS…FIRES CAN EASILY IGNITE AND SPREAD QUICKLY.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND WARM TEMPERATURES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR.
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A survey shows the value of Iowa cropland has dropped for the first time since 2009. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports the survey from the Iowa Realtors Land Institute shows the value of tillable cropland fell by 5.4 percent in the past six months. The report found the average price of high-quality farmland was $11,104 an acre, a drop of $570 from the last survey released in September.
The survey showed declines in all nine regions of the state, with the largest drop in southeast Iowa. Reasons for the decline include lower commodity prices, higher input costs and increasing interest rates. Prices for Iowa farmland have more than doubled in the past five years. Average high-quality farmland cost $5,297 in 2009 but had soared to $11,515 by 2013.