Farmers warned about prescribed burns

Mar 21, 2013

It’s early in the season, but a few prescribed burns have already spread out of control.

Meterologist Chris Jones of the National Weather Service in Riverton says one recent case involved an effort to clear weeds along fence line. Wind spread the fire into a trash pile.

Fire fighters responded and no structures were damaged. But with warmer winds and last year’s drought and subsequent drier soil, Jones expects that more such fires could occur without proper preparation.

“We would appreciate it if people would call and get forecasts ahead of time before dropping that match,” says Jones, “and really it’s to benefit not just our agency, but certainly our fire protection folks that are out there, especially at the county level.”

Farmers often initiate burns to clear ditches or fight weeds. But this season, Jones says the Weather Service wants to know about any planned burns ahead of time. 

He adds that WYDOT can hold anyone whose prescribed burns damage state property, including right-of-way fencing, criminally and civilly liable.