Indiana state officials are warning that during dry conditions, seemingly harmless actions such as driving over or parking on dry grass, or dropping a lit cigarette on the ground could cause a sizeable fire.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warn Hoosiers that open burning is not the only cause of fires. Certain activities may not be thought of as fire causes, but in dry conditions a number of common behaviors can swiftly ignite dry grass and foliage.
“Individual carelessness can quickly become a catalyst for fire during dry conditions,” says Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “Campfires are the most commonly recognized impetus for wildfires, but many other daily activities may also be culpable. Everyone needs to use extra caution right now when working with fire and any objects with a propensity to create sparks.”
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).
Continuing dry conditions across the state have already led to several field fires and prompted some municipalities to order burn bans in effort to prevent wild fires. Jurisdictions currently under burn restrictions include: Bartholomew, Boone, Crawford, Daviess, Fayette, Hamilton, Johnson, Lawrence, Orange, Owen, Shelby, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Warrick and Wayne counties.
“Even in jurisdictions not currently under a ban, everyone needs to exercise additional caution to avoid sparking a fire this fall,” says DNR State Fire Supervisor Drew Daily. “Always consult your county commissioner’s office, or local sheriff’s office if you have any questions about permissible burn practices in your area.”
Dry Weather Fire Safety Tips
· Store firewood and all other combustibles away from your home.
· It is advisable to avoid burning trash during dry weather, but if you must, and if permissible, burn trash in a safe incinerator that includes: heavy mesh screen with holes not much longer than 1/4 inch, and a metal barrel in good condition.
· Have a hose nearby to help put out the fire if it gets out of control.
· If any fire starts to spread, contact your fire department or 911 immediately.
· Never park your vehicle on dry grass or leaves.
· Avoid driving through tall grass.
· Make sure spark arresters on the internal combustion engines of off road vehicles are clean.
· Never throw a lighted cigarette out the window of a vehicle.
· Never walk off and leave a burning cigarette.
· Use ash trays.
· Perform proper maintenance on agriculture equipment to prevent overheating.
· Grease trailer wheels, check tires, and ensure safety chains are not touching the ground.
· Be careful with gas lanterns, barbeques, gas stoves, and anything that can be a source of ignition for a wildfire.
· Remember, sparks from chainsaws, welding torches, and other equipment can cause wildfires.