According to the Kansas Fire Marshall.
In 2015, Kansas fire departments responded to nearly 6,000 vegetation-related fires that resulted in 21 reported injuries, and $4.9 million in property loss and damages.
According to fire officials, nearly ninety-five percent of all wildfires result from the activity of people and, subsequently, a significant number could be prevented through taking proper actions towards fire safety.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal and Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council offer the following tips and best practices for helping farmers and ranchers to have safe and successful prescribed burns of their fields and pastures, ensuring 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.
• Notify neighbors as a courtesy prior to burning.
• Postpone the burn if unsure of the fuel and weather conditions.
• Check the weather forecast, not just for the day you will be burning, but for a couple days afterward as well to avoid “holdover” escapes from burns that were completed and forgotten about a day or more prior.
• 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.
With spring just around the corner and with dry and windy conditions persisting make a recipe for fires.
But to counteract this recipe, the Great Bend Fire Department will be issuing a burn restriction.
“This burn restriction will be issued for the following townships: Buffalo, Liberty, Great Bend and South Bend,” Fire Chief Michael Napolitano said. “These dry and windy conditions are our greatest concerns along with multiple fires,” he said. “These fires and very labor extensive and required mutual aid from other departments.”
The burn restriction will consist of no open burning, no campfires, no field burning and no burning of brush piles.
These conditions were already the cause of two fires on Monday according to the Great Bend Fire Department.
The first fire was reported a 11:33 a.m. The fire department responded to the Barton County Courthouse where there was a report of small grass fire outside to the east. Upon arrival, units found a small grass fire that was started by a discarded cigarette, and it was quickly extinguished.
The other fire was reported at 1:37 p.m. The fire department responded to a grass fire at 200 NE 60 avenue.
When they arrived, units found a fast-moving fire in the west ditch. The forward progress was stopped, but not before it jumped the road and started the east ditch burning.
The fires were extinguished and units were on the scene for an hour dowsing hot spots. Cause of the fire was again a discarded cigarette.
According to the Great Bend Fire Department there are some precautions people can take to help with this issue.
• Do not toss cigarettes from moving vehicles, use the ashtray.
• If you plan to barbecue, do not leave the fire unattended.
• Check equipment for properly working spark arresters.
• Cut back or remove any dry and dead landscaping plants or bushes around your home. Clear leaves from your roof and gutters.
• Move anything that will burn far away from structures, items like firewood, compost piles and brush piles,
• Notify the electric company when dead trees or overhanging limbs endanger the electric wires.
• Practice fire safety with your family. If you see suspicious fire or smoke, call 911.
• Have two escape routes out of the home and have a meeting place with your family.
For more information about the burn restriction contact the Great Bend Fire Department at 620-793-4141.