The state fire marshal is cautioning Iowans about fire risks following the heat wave that has affected the state over the last two weeks.
A press release from state fire marshal Ray Reynolds’ office, released Monday, said the extreme temperatures have created a “tinder box” condition throughout the state. Iowans are advised to use extreme caution when using fire as one-third of the state remains under a burn ban, the release said.
“We expect some burn bans during the spring and fall of every year,” Reynolds said in the release. “It is significant when one-third of the state is in a burn ban in July. I can’t recall a time since the 1980′s when we have seen this level of extreme dryness.”
The fire marshal is asking Iowans to avoid littering and throwing lit cigarettes from moving vehicles in order to prevent grass fires. Iowans are also asked to avoid the use of sky lanterns, fireworks, and burning yard waste.
The release said the only fires allowed during a burn ban are controlled burns, for which the Fire Marshall issues a permit, and small recreational camp fires that are placed in adequate construction such as bricks, metal, or screen mesh. Campfires in outdoor fireplaces are prohibited.
Those who violate a burn ban are subject to a citation or arrest for reckless use of fire or disobeying a burn ban, the release said.