Conditions mixing for ‘fire danger’ in the Central Plains according to NWS


Conditions mixing for ‘fire danger’ in the Central Plains according to NWS

The National Weather Service says there’s an elevated fire risk for farmers and ranchers in the Central Plains.

Eric Snodgrass, an atmospheric scientist with Nutrient Ag Solutions, says dryness and high winds are fueling a potentially dangerous situation. “Bare soil with whatever is left of the vegetation will dry out quickly,” he says. “You combine that with the fact with this whole wintertime period even going back to last fall has seen some very, very strong wind events and we have this risk for grass fires and wildfires so spread should they catch.”

The NWS is forecasting fire danger in central and Eastern Nebraska, parts of Southwestern and West-Central Iowa and areas of Kansas with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour and low humidity.

Snodgrass tells Brownfield “It would be great if we could get a good blanket of snow on top of everything to suppress that issue, but the way things are setting up here, we are at an elevated risk for having those wildfires moving forward. Especially given of these winds, we’re getting gusts of 50 to 70 miles per hour sometimes.”

And, Snodgass says those winds are creating dust storms. “I don’t like that situation.  I think it’s something that we could remedy quickly with some snow, but we have to get some snow to do that.”

He says these conditions could persist through mid-March.