Another day of hot, dry weather is fueling concerns about the fire danger across the state. Tonight, nearly half of Iowa is under a burn ban. If the heat wave continues, it won't be long until the other half follows suit.
“I can't understand how it can stay so green,” says Duane Cook.
The Cambridge farmer's good timing is about to run out. He planted his corn early and his crops got a good soaking early in the summer. But now…
“They're very dry. They need more moisture. If we don`t get it, it's going to be light corn, not much yield,” says Cook.
All it takes is one look at his empty rain gauge to know why Story County is under a burn ban. The restrictions went into effect last Friday around the time one of his neighbors had a close call.
“Neighbor had a little fire. It didn't get away from him, it's just so hot, the wind came up and caught some coals and blew it into the fields,” he says.
Those are the types of situations state fire officials want to avoid.
“I would just keep from doing any open burning at this time,” says Assistant State Fire Marshal Jeff Quigle.
The state added ten additional counties to the burn ban list today. Most are in eastern Iowa, but county emergency officials are keeping a close eye on tinder dry conditions across the entire state.
“They're gonna look at the soil conditions. They're going to look at the dryness of the grass. They're gonna look at, you know, if there was a fire is it going to spread?” explains Quigle.
It could be a matter of time before all of Iowa is placed under restrictions.
“I doubt there would be much going on for fire, on account of it being so dry,” says Cook.
He and other farmers are waiting for a well-timed soaking to not only lift the ban, but to help save their crops.
Anyone caught violating a burn ban could be charged with a simple misdemeanor.