Wildfire concerns strengthen as dry weather persists

Fire officials offer tips on how you can reduce your wildfire risk
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Fall is often associated with wildfires in Kansas and this year is no exception. Jason Hartman is with the Kansas Forest Service.

“The persistent drought added on top of some of those same weather patterns we saw in fall of ‘21 going into spring of ‘22, it could be a serious condition,” said Hartman.

Even still, there are a few things landowners can do to help prevent fires on their property.

“That general clean up. Gutters, corners, decks, fire breaks if applicable and possible,” said Hartman. “It doesn’t have to be bear dirt, even just a shorter mowed area is a very beneficial break if you can do that.”

Chief Forest Walter with Mission Township Fire says even a controlled burn could easily get out of hand if you’re not prepared.

“Well, it’s not just wildfires. It’s pits that they have at their house, it’s burning a brush pile,” said Walter. “It’s been an extraordinarily dry year, drought basically and different factors really cause more hazard. Of course the dryness if one of them, wind conditions and speed and humidity. A lot of the fires that can happen, is we have those nice southerly winds that keep us warm and then they change from the north and wind direction changes really effect somebody burning because they didn’t expect winds to change 180 degrees in a 2 hour time period.”

Something else to keep in mind is that different fire fuels burn at different speeds. This grass for example will burn in much less time compared to this hay bale. Your local fire department is likely more than willing to show you how you can better prepare your land to prevent fire or make it easier for fire fighters on the scene.

“If we have to come by your site to give you our advice on what you should and shouldn’t do we’d be glad to do that and I think any that with any fire district,” said Walter. “We’d rather be preemptive and proactive instead of going after and it’s out of control and you’ve caused some damage not only on your property but also your neighbors house.”