We heard it again last week from Fire Chief Jan Harkless of the Blunt Rural Volunteer Fire Department: Parts of the region are drier than some people have seen before, ever.
If there’s any redeeming factor about this year’s drought it’s that not as much vegetation grew as in a normal year, so there isn’t as much fuel as there might have been if the area had received more rain.
But there’s still enough stubble and hayland and CRP to give wildfires something to chew on, and if it happens on a day with a stiff wind, things could get ugly.
Firefighters also tell us this period from late summer to snowfall is often their busiest season, so fire fighters are understandably worried going into the fall.
It’s up to the rest of us to do what we can to minimize the risk of fire. We need to be unusually cautious about where we park our vehicles, for example, so that a hot muffler or manifold won’t cause a blaze. In the same way, we need to be especially careful about how we dispose of cigarette butts, and be alert for any sparks that might be caused by operating power tools or discharging firearms. Hunting season is upon us. Let’s enjoy the wild, but do our best to not let loose wildfires.
And remember to thank the firefighters who put their lives on the line to defend your homes and property.