OTTUMWA — With less than an inch of rain in August, authorities are asking Ottumwa resident to use extreme caution if they choose to burn items outdoors.
The announcement isn't a burn ban. Not yet, at least. But both the Ottumwa Fire Department and Wapello Rural Fire Department say open burning is not recommended. Deputy Fire Chief Cory Benge cautioned that it doesn't take much to cause a major fire.
"Conditions are so dry right now, that just a single stray spark can have huge consequences,” he said. “We are asking people to postpone their open burning until the weather cools down a bit and we get some rain. Fighting wildfires is very dangerous work, especially in this heat. We are asking everyone to consider their own safety, their neighbors' safety and the safety of all our firefighters."
Recreational fireplaces and barbecue grills are allowed under most conditions, even during bans on open burning, but authorities ask that people ensure those items are attended. It's always best to have a means of putting out a fire, such as a water hose, shovel or fire extinguisher, at hand.