2022 Wildfire Awareness Week February 14-18, 2022
In 2021, Kansas fire departments responded to close to 5,000, vegetation-related fires that caused two fatalities, injured 20 people, burned over 185,000 acres and damaged more than 40 buildings. Over 900 of these fires required counties to seek mutual-aid assistance to bring them under control. The fires also caused over $4 million in damages to property owners.
According to fire officials, nearly ninety-five percent of all wildfires result from the activity of people and, subsequently, a significant number could be prevented through taking proper actions towards fire safety.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal and Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council offer the following tips and best practices for helping farmers and ranchers to have safe and successful prescribed burns of their fields and pastures, ensuring a burn doesn’t become a wildfire:
- Know all state and local fire restrictions. Check with county officials who are charged with deciding whether burning is permissible based on local conditions.
- Notify neighbors as a courtesy prior to burning.
- Postpone the burn if unsure of the fuel and weather conditions.
- Check the weather forecast, not just for the day you will be burning, but for a couple days afterward as well to avoid “holdover” escapes from burns that were completed and forgotten about a day or more prior.
- Have adequate resources and equipment available to prevent escaped fires.
- Consider smoke management to avoid unsafe roads and air quality conditions.
- Do not burn to the ends of the field. Setting boundaries, “back burning” and keeping the fire off of fence rows will prevent out-of-control burns.