Shenandoah Fire Department urges safety with control fires

With warmer and drier conditions starting to prevail the weather patterns, the Shenandoah Fire Department would like to share a few safety tips.

For both safety and legal reasons, certain groups should be notified before a burn to prevent unnecessary concerns and danger. Notifying neighbors, fire departments, and local law enforcement officials should be part of the prescribed burning process.

Producers, landowners and tenants performing prescribed burns to CRP acres, brush piles, and other trash piles are asked to please notify the dispatch center in Clarinda by dialing 712-542-1420 or the Shenandoah Fire Department at 712-246-2300.

Please state the location of the planned burning, and the time you plan on igniting the fire. Reporting this information should help eliminate the potential for unnecessary dispatches of the fire department to your location.

When using fire, it is important to plan for firebreaks. A firebreak is an area that will contain a fire within its boundaries. A plowed or disked strip, reaching down to the soil, is the most common method of establishing a firebreak. Firebreaks should be at least 20 feet wide.

Always plan your burn with the weather conditions. Try to burn when the relative humidity is between 50% to 70%. When the relative humidity falls below 50% percent, conditions become too dry and produce a fire that is too hot to manage safely.

Wind conditions are another concern. Wind direction should remain consistent while burning. Wind speeds ideally should be 10 MPH or less and steady. Sudden gusts of wind or change in direction can all drastically alter fire behavior resulting in a dangerous uncontrolled fire.

Always be conscious of neighbors and public roadways when determining wind conditions before burning. It’s always a good idea to have a tractor with a disc hooked up to disc fire breaks ahead of a fire if it does get away from you.

ATVs with water tanks and pumps are also a good safety tool.

Understanding and properly conducting backfires can help control fire behavior as well.

Remember safety always comes first. By following a few crucial guidelines listed above, your planned burn can be more productive and safer. Always feel free to contact the Shenandoah Fire Department with any concerns or questions at 712-246-2300. Stay Safe out there. The Shenandoah Fire Department Members.

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