The winter of 2016/2017 will be forgotten by most as uneventful and more like spring than winter. This won’t be the case for everyone. The mild winter, while good on our spirits, has been bad on fire season. In truth, the winter of 2016/2017 will be remembered by area fire crews more so than anyone else.
While winter brings on its own challenges for fire districts as it relates to heating fires, flue fires and driving hazards it also brings a break from calls such as natural cover fires. The cool moist air coupled with frozen vegetation and grounds give reprise to the threat of natural cover fires. These conditions lead to acceptable times in which leaves and vegetation can safely be burned, and most of us utilize these colder months to do this activity.
What happens when the cold and frost are absent, the spring winds begin to blow without the spring rains, and the leaves from the previous fall are still on the ground? It creates a serious fire danger for the area.
While we all want to get rid of these pesky leaves and prepare our yards for spring flowers and new grass, we need to hold off. The conditions in the area are at dangerous levels with little to no humidity, strong winds and heavy fuel loads. Until some long days of appreciable slow rain are seen in the area, the conditions will not improve. With the brief amounts of precipitation we have seen, it does not take more than a gentle wind to once again dry out the top cover of fuel on the ground.
Area Fire Districts are asking homeowners to refrain from burning, wait until conditions are more favorable. Districts such as Southwest and Mid-County are seeing a heavy call load due to natural cover fires.
Weather reports show some appreciable rain in our forecast over the next week, with any luck these forecast will be accurate. But until such time as these rains arrive and until such time as the Fire Districts release the caution on open burning, please help us by not striking that match.
When the burn ban is lifted make sure you review safety tips on open burning around structures. Refer to the article “What You Need to Know about Natural Cover Fires” that ran in October of 2015. You can find this at the Lake Sun web page by searching under that title. This article will give you tips on how to set up zones around your home and the safest ways to burn.
Fire Safety is everyone’s job; please help by doing your part.