Conditions ripe for fire danger in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Conditions ripe for fire danger in Iowa

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Higher than normal temperatures coupled with high wind gusts are creating conditions that could spell trouble in Iowa.

That trouble?  Fire danger.

Much of Southwest Iowa and neighboring Kansas were under red flag warnings Monday.

"It means there's high temperatures, strong wind gusts, which can spread a fire quicker, and low humidity in the fuel you have out there," said Matt Bonar, a natural resource technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The ground may still be fairly damp from the recent snow melt, but Bonar says the higher temperatures and wind have helped to dry out most tall prairie grass in the state.  And one small spark, he said, could start a fire that would spread in a hurry.

It's not something you normally associate with this time of year.

"Typically, this is our rainy time of the year in spring, so it is pretty unusual to have a red flag warning this early. But with the warm temperatures we've had and it melted that snow pretty fast, you can imagine how fast that grass is drying out," Bonar said.

Bonar said the best way to avoid any big fires is to avoid burning altogether when the conditions are dry like this.  He said it's best to check with the National Weather Service before doing any sort of burning.

He also said dropping temperatures will help mitigate the risk of fire.

"When it's colder, there's more dew on the ground, and when the temperature is lower, it takes longer for the moisture to go away," he said.

 

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