WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published April 28, 2010, 07:27 PM

Dry, Windy Conditions Create Fire Hazard, Burning Ban In Effect

The dry weather we've had and the today's high winds made for extremely dangerous conditions for people to be burning.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

Authorities say no one should be burning anything out side on days like today, no matter what. Right now there is a burning ban in effect for northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

Authorities say fires are most likely to spread on days like today.

The thirty to forty mile per hour winds that blew through the region today plus the dead grass from last fall to act as fuel equal perfect conditions for a fire to spread. That's why authorities are telling people not to burn anything outside.

"They issue what's called a red flag warning. That's the most hazardous of all conditions for burning," said Thompson Administrative Fire Chief Joe Simon.

With the winds it may only take a little spark for dead grass to ignite and start a quickly spreading fire.

Authorities say for the most part, people have obeyed the ban. But they say some have asked for burn permits, promising they will control the burn. But authorities say it's too dangerous on a day like today.

"It doesn't matter. When ember gets away and gets into dry CRP or whatever, you've got a full-fledged fire," said Bob Rost of the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department.

"We go through it every year, but this I think is the dryest I remember," said Simon.

Simon says when the grass turns greener it will lessen the fire hazard. But authorities say it's hard to determine how long the burning ban will remain in effect.

"Realistically, it could be all summer long, if the conditions persist," said Rost.

Violating the burning ban is a Class B Misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and thirty days in jail.