Area Fire Chiefs Sound Alarm Over Increasing Grass/Field Fire Threat Due To Extremely Dry Conditions

Mon 9-21-2020

(Milford)-- There's mounting concern over the possibility of grass and field fires due to the extremely dry conditions and dead vegetation out there. Adding to the worries is the start of the harvest season. Milford Fire Chief Jim Carpenter is encouraging farmers to keep several things in mind...Jim Carpenter01 

"We'd like the farmers to blow out their combines quite frequently; make sure all the bearings are greased properly; make sure their equipment is ready to go. And for the farmers we'd really like to see a disc out there next to them in the field so that if something does happen they can get at it right away, with a disc behind the tractor so that it makes it a lot easier for us, so we don't have to spend so much time out there and we can keep these under control."

Carpenter says it's a good idea to also have a fire extinguisher in the combine...Jim Carpenter02 

"10 pound ABC or a water can fire extinguisher is really a cheap investment for the type of, to help keep the fire under control and ultimately put it out on a, you know, very expensive piece of equipment."

And while it's currently not recommended, Carpenter says those planning on doing any controlled burning especially need to use extreme caution...Jim Carpenter03 

"If you're doing any kind of controlled burning please make sure there's some black area around where you're burning and keep an eye on it. Really observe how the winds are going to be for the day and if you can put a garden hose out there and wet it down at the end of the day and stir it up real well so it doesn't spark up in the night if the wind comes up."

Here again, Carpenter says the best advice for now is not to do any burning...Jim Carpenter04 

"You know, if you've got a question about it, you know, about doing a controlled burn or something that you're going to do, then I would say you probably shouldn't do it because of the type of weather. Hopefully we can get some rain or something to help it out a little bit, but right now everything's so dead and dry that even a good rain's going to make it not real good. I mean it's going to dry out again real fast, so."

Some counties in the area, including Clay and Emmet, have burn bans in place due to the extreme conditions.