Dubuque County burn ban won't affect firework shows - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County burn ban won't affect firework shows

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Dry vegetation prompted Dubuque County fire chiefs to issue a county-wide open burn ban Dry vegetation prompted Dubuque County fire chiefs to issue a county-wide open burn ban
DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Dubuque County will be under a burn ban beginning Thursday morning at 8.

Epworth Fire Department Chief Tom Berger said this won't impact any scheduled firework shows. He and the 12 other Dubuque County fire chiefs requested state fire marshal's office impose the open burn ban. Berger said this won't have a big impact one people's daily lives, but it does convey just how dangerously dry conditions are right now.

He said the county has seen approximately a dozen grass fires in the last two weeks.

The open burn ban mainly applies to the kind of burning normally seen in the spring and fall, such as the burning of dead brush or a farmer's field.

There are special permits, however, for scheduled firework shows, so those aren't in jeopardy of cancellation. Not now, anyway.

"It's so dry in the ditches," Berger said Wednesday. "We've had grass fires, things that just got away from people, other things that have started for some unknown reasons."

Dubuque County's open burn ban will continue until further notice.

"It's not just going to be a rainstorm coming through," Berger said, "It's going to take quite a bit of precipitation, you know, before we are able to lift the ban."

It's so one spark or ember doesn't blaze into something bigger.

"It really catches you. The wind can change. A gust of wind comes up and it'll move that fire and it'll surround you," Berger said. "It depends on the vegetation you're in, but it's very dangerous."

This burn ban does not include barbeque grills or bonfires, as long as they're contained in a unit with a lid, so the ashes can't float out and ignite nearby grass.

Even responding to fires can be dangerous, as firefighters can easily overheat in their heavy gear.

Officials urge extra caution when using sparklers. Those can reach anywhere from 1,100 to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Vegetation can ignite at about 450 degrees.

Read the full official burn ban announcement HERE.

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