Spring and warmer weather have finally arrived! For BuEComm, the 9-1-1 Emergency Communication Center, evidence of spring can be seen immediately by the dramatic increase in the number of controlled burns and brush fires across the county. As farmers prepare for planting season, controlled burning is often used as a tool to clear grass and brush from fields and ditches greatly reducing the likelihood of serious hotter fires later in the season.
Although the potential hazards of controlled burning cannot be completely eliminated, using caution and following a few simple guidelines can diminish the danger and the need for emergency response by local fire departments.
As of Monday morning, there have been 32 field/grass fires in 12 days.
Before lighting any controlled burn site, notify emergency personnel by calling 815-872-1420. You will be asked for the location of the controlled burn, including the nearest intersection or cross street and the name and telephone number of the person responsible for the fire. You will also be asked to call back to report when the burn is finished.
Some general guidelines for burning are:
• Ensure there is ALWAYS someone at the scene of the controlled burn. It only takes a moment or a sudden change in wind direction for the fire to become out of control.
• NEVER burn on days with excessive wind, and be aware of wind direction before you light a fire.
• Be careful of fires along or near roadways or railways. Smoke from these fires can reduce visibility for drivers and may result in accidents.
• Educate yourself on state and local burning ordinances that may apply to your property before starting a fire.
Please take all necessary precautions when burning this season, and if a fire should become out of control call 9-1-1 immediately for emergency assistance.