Drought Conditions Make Prescribed Burns Hazardous

Fire Marshal, Interagency Wildfire Council urge delaying burn to next year because of drought

Published on: Apr 25, 2013

The Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council are together issuing a burn advisory due to persistent drought conditions across Kansas.

While the past few weeks have brought an increase in moisture to the area, it has not been enough to create safe conditions for outdoor burning. Continued drought conditions combined with high wind speeds, low relative humidity, and other weather factors will produce unsafe conditions for burns this season.

"If possible, we encourage delaying burning for another year so that the conditions for safely burning fields or brush will not be as likely to produce fires that burn out of control and put lives and property at risk," says Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal.

"If possible, we encourage delaying burning for another year so that the conditions for safely burning fields or brush will not be as likely to produce fires that burn out of control and put lives and property at risk," says Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal.
"If possible, we encourage delaying burning for another year so that the conditions for safely burning fields or brush will not be as likely to produce fires that burn out of control and put lives and property at risk," says Doug Jorgensen, State Fire Marshal.

Important to use best practices
In cases in which prescribed burning is essential this year, the OSFM and Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council offer the following tips and best practices to help ensure a burn doesn't become a wildfire:

* Know all state and local fire restrictions. Check with county officials who are charged with deciding whether burning is permissible based on local conditions. For a current list of burn bans as reported to the Kansas Division of Emergency Managers, visit this link.

* Notify neighbors as a courtesy prior to burning.

* Postpone the burn if unsure of the fuel and weather conditions.

* Have adequate resources and equipment available to prevent escaped fires.

* Consider smoke management to avoid unsafe roads and air quality conditions.

* Do not burn to the ends of the field. Setting boundaries, "back burning" and keeping the fire off of fence rows will prevent out-of-control burns.

Kansas experienced extreme fire behavior in 2012, with more than 41,000 acres burned and 26 structures lost from wildfire by the end of summer. The Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council has collaborated with a National Fire Prevention and Education Team to provide expertise and guidance for wildfire prevention, with the ultimate goal of reducing human-caused fires.

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