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Eastern Nebraska counties under Red Flag Warning for possibility of fires

Posted at 5:58 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 18:58:59-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa are in danger of experiencing rapid fire spread through the weekend. Current weather conditions indicate potential for high to extreme fire danger. Strong winds, low humidity and dry weather make for the perfect conditions for fires.

"Those conditions are just right for igniting a fire in grasses and small brush," Joel Sacks, fire chief for Ponca Hills Fire Department, says. "It’s more typical in the fall because the grass has dried down and the humidity goes lower in the fall. It’s probably a little warmer than normal which doesn’t help."

Some counties have issued a Red Flag Warning. Fire ignition and spread becomes much easier during these conditions.

"We had rain Sunday night and everybody says 'Well it rained.' Most of the fuels around here are called one hour fuels, which is smaller than a quarter inch in diameter and on a day like today even if it rains, that fuel will be dry enough to burn in one hour," Sacks says.

Some counties, including Douglas County, have issued a burn ban. Residents must discontinue use of fire pits, campfire rings, burn barrels and more during this time.

"Don’t throw cigarettes out the car window, don’t light your burn barrel, don’t light your fire pit in the evening," Sacks says. "If a wild fire starts on a really windy day, it can spread through houses and burn houses down, we don’t want that. It could get to somebody’s field and burn their crops up, we don’t want that."