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Dry Conditions Spark Fire Hazard

April 11, 2014, 7:20 AM by Brittany Larson

 Dry Conditions Spark Fire Hazard

Retired farmer Edwin Kaul has lived on a 116-acre farm in Tea, South Dakota, for more than 40 years. Now that he's retired, his son has taken over caring for the land.

"We will need some rain, but we will probably need to get into the field to work the stalks and till them," Kaul said.

Kaul says they rarely start controlled burns. But if they do, they're careful about it.

"We have some waste material or wood that needs to be burn because it's of no value or use to us. It would be dangerous to have an open fire, we usually do our burns in a barrel or a container," Kaul said.

The National Weather Service recommends no outside burning for southeastern KELOLAND because of the dry conditions.

"You look at the grass right here on the edge of town where a little spark or you know, if the farm would be burning to the south of it the wind shifting out of the south and blowing ember into that grass, it wouldn't take long for that to take off and spread," Assistant Fire Chief, Steven Oberle said. 

When the conditions are okay, Oberle recommends a few safety tips if you're going to start a controlled burn.

"Have a tank of water with you, have disk with you if you're a farmer or if you're a home owner have a shovel and some water by you, so you can knock it down if it starts creeping out of the fire pit. Just pay attention to it.

Even if it rains, you still need to be prepared.

"Even with an inch of rain one day and then with 80 degree temperatures and wind it dries up pretty quick,” Oberle said. 

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