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Weather in the metro creating the 'perfect condition for fire danger'

Posted at 9:40 AM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 10:40:15-05

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — The dry and windy weather conditions continue across Nebraska and in the metro. While we may enjoy the temperatures and the absence of rain or snow, it could spell trouble.

On Tuesday, the national weather service put almost the entire state in a ‘Red Flag Warning’.

A Red Flag Warning means that an area is more prone to easily burning and the chances of a fire growing increases.

Because of this, local fire departments have put burn bans into place around the metro.

Papillion La Vista Fire Chief Bill Bowes says this has made fire conditions extremely dangerous in the state.

“We’ve had such a dry winter that we haven’t had the snow cover or the moisture in the ground that we normally would. So, all the plants and vegetation are drying out,” Chief Bowes said. “Lack of moisture, low humidity, and breezy conditions together, it really is a perfect condition for fire danger.”

Chief Bowes says it is important to keep any flammable materials under control and to practice fire safety when we experience these conditions.

One of the most common wildfire starters here in the metro are from sparks that catch dry grass coming off train tracks. Chief Bowes says Union Pacific has done a good job of keeping tracks clean of debris and limiting this from happening.

The most common wildfire starter in these conditions however is something that we can control.

“More often than not it’s somebody throwing a cigarette out the window onto the grass next to the road. We had a fire yesterday down near our public works facility that was exactly that,” Bowes said. “The wind kicked it up, stirred up those embers just enough to get it going, and then it took off across the dry grass.”

He says they were on top of the fire right away, preventing it from becoming more serious, but that won’t always be the case.

Be sure to check whether your area is under a burn ban before starting any fires outdoors.