Open Burning Still a Concern


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MASON CITY, IA – For those considering open burning of materials, these wet conditions can seem ideal, but that doesn’t mean that the dangers don’t exist.

Strong winds, dry weather, and low humidity, that’s a perfect storm when it comes to grass fires. Right now we’re only seeing one of those conditions, that means there is still a fire danger but the risk is lower.

“We don’t have the same five dangers that we had last year. Last year was extremely dry in fact this year we’ve already seen in the first six months as we saw the entire year last year. So obviously if people have fires, there’s a lot smaller chance of them getting out of control,” said Adam Frederick, Chief Meteorologist with KIMT TV.

Field fires were all too common of a sight during last year’s drought.

This year, fields do have moisture, but that comes with a whole new set of concerns.

“The main difference with wet weather is that some of those materials that are allowed be burned such as landscape waste. If you do, try to start them when they’re wet then obviously it’s gonna smolder for a lot longer period and that releases more pollutants into the atmosphere,” said David Knoll of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Officials with the Iowa DNR help regulate open burning throughout the state, and some towns have added rules of their own.

“The state rules may be different then the local ordinances and rules on open burning and often the local ordinances are more strict than the state rules are. So some of the burning that the state rules allow may not be allowed in your neighborhood,” said Knoll.

So while the guidelines may differ depending on where you are, the rule of common sense always applies.

“Keep common sense in mine. If you’ve got a really windy day and kind of drier day. Don’t be doing the burning. Save it for other days when we may have lower winds. It’s moist for a while and hopefully then at that point they wouldn’t have any problems,” said Frederick.

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