Drier harvest season leads to more corn field fires

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 5:15 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures are making this November a little different.

In the past few years, the ground has had more rainfall during the fall harvest. This year that’s not happening.

That’s why there are more fires happening in corn fields right now.

“It’s an odd year as far as I’m concerned," said Jeffery Olson, the public information officer for the Township Fire Department. "It’s obviously very dry, and you know it resembles the spring time conditions.”

Sunday a fire burned 40 acres in Jackson County.

Then on Wednesday, a corn field caught fire near the town of Hallie when someone spread the ashes from another fire too close.

Thursday afternoon a fire started in a field in the township of Wheaton.

While farmers harvest their fields, it can dry out the top soil. The hard frost earlier this fall also helped create these dry conditions.

Another factor: the strong wind. It can push the fire around and change directions.

“You’re at the mercy of mother nature with it," Olson said. "On top of that, we have the smoke factor which heavy smoke going across the roadway, you could have accidents with people not slowing down-- no visibility.”

Since the conditions are so dry right now, Olson says it’s especially important to check with your local fire department to see if it’s safe to burn.

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