Chief: Be Careful. Wind Could Accelerate Fire Growth This Week

Northwest Iowa — Monday was a pretty windy day. And it doesn’t appear that the wind is going to be much less for the next few days. That means increased fire danger, especially since we haven’t had much snow up here in this part of the state.

Winds gusted as high as 45 miles per hour on Monday. Tuesday gusts could be 35 miles per hour, with 45 mile-per-hour gusts and a chance of snow on Wednesday, and still blustery on Christmas Eve Day, with gusts forecast up to 25 miles per hour.

That kind of wind can whip fires up in a hurry, as evidenced by a fire that the Sibley Fire Department extinguished on Sunday night.

According to Fire Chief Kenny Huls, a property owner smelled smoke about 5 p.m. and found his ditch on fire. Huls says the owner grabbed a bucket and tried to put the fire out by himself, but he needed more water, and by the time he came back with the second bucket, the fire was into the field as the wind picked up the flames. It could have been much worse, as the fire appeared headed to the farm grove, but Huls says luckily they were able to put it out before that happened. He says about two acres of corn stalks burned and some of the ditch.

Huls says they think the fire must have started due to discarded smoking materials. Huls says people need to be careful with anything that could get hot for the next few days, don’t burn anything, and never discard cigarettes or other smoking material out the window of a vehicle.

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