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Douglas County remains under burn ban; Omaha Fire Department urges precautions

Posted at 7:38 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 08:38:28-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Beautiful temperatures and a dry forecast are on the docket again Wednesday. While we are enjoying the incredible weather it’s important to keep in mind the fire dangers we face.

RELATED: Dry conditions across Nebraska and Iowa metro creating higher fire risk

This winter has been one of the driest in recent memory. Through the first two months of 2022, Omaha has had about 25 inches less snowfall than it experienced in 2021.

These dry conditions have been the culprit for an uptick in grass and brush fires in the metro.

Currently Douglas County, along with many other counties in Nebraska and Western Iowa, is under a burn ban.

The Omaha Fire Department (OFD) says the most common cause of brush fires in the metro is from people disposing of their cigarettes out the window of their vehicles.

“We just urge everyone to make sure any smoking materials that you have that you put them in a proof container. If you’re driving in a vehicle place them in the ashtray, don’t just flick them outside,” OFD Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said. “Because it can start a fire and spread, get bigger, and possibly go to buildings. We don’t want anyone to get hurt or to lose their property over something like that.”

Chief Fitzpatrick says in dry weather like we have experienced the smallest spark can rapidly grow into a fire that can quickly get out of control.

He hopes everyone takes these burn bans seriously, as they are put in place solely for everyone’s safety.

“We urge everybody that while it’s this dry don’t do any of that. It’s going to possibly get out of hand. It will affect your property, your neighbor’s property, and possibly get someone hurt,” Chief Fitzpatrick said. “So, until we can get some moisture and remove that burn ban we just urge everybody to be cautious.”

He says if you do have a burn permit and have been cleared to burn to be sure to practice fire safety.

Keep an eye on the fire and have a fire extinguisher or water supply ready.

Grilling outside does not require a burn permit. However, he urges folks to be at the ready with an extinguisher or water just to be safe.