South Elgin district: Fire danger increases during hot weather
From Submitted Reports July 9, 2012 10:20AM
A controlled fire rages across the prairie Wednesday November 16, 2011 at Muirhead Spring Forest Preserve in Plato Township. Late fall is usually a good time to burn since early in the fall, plants are still too wet and green to burn, especially if there is alot of rain. November 16, 2011 | Sun-Times Media~File Photo
Updated: August 11, 2012 6:12AM
SOUTH ELGIN — The area’s continued dry conditions — combined with gusty winds and carelessness — are the ingredients for increased fire danger, according to the South Elgin Fire Protection District.
District firefighters responded to several grass or brush fires during this past weekend, and all of them were the result of careless use of smoking materials or fireworks, according to Acting Shift Commander Lt. Bill Eckles.
In these current environmental conditions, cigarette butts carelessly discarded in mulch, legal “fireworks” novelties and backyard fire pits all have the potential for disaster, the district said in a press release.
Grass fires can be started without an open flame. Any heat-generating equipment, including a vehicle parked on the grass, might be enough to start a fire, and the brisk winds will quickly spread the fire, the release noted.
Fire Chief Joe Cluchey advised local residents to exercise extreme caution with any type of heat-generating devices near the dry grass, mulch, or fields. He strongly discouraged any type of outside burning until this threat has passed.
Cluchey said the weather forecast for the next 10 days indicates little relief from the danger.
“These weather conditions are creating a genuine fire threat to our area, and we need residents to help us in preventing the loss of property by heeding our warnings and consciously making safe choices,” he said.
The Fire District also asks residents to report even small fires as soon as they are discovered.
On Sunday, three fires in South Elgin quickly spread and threatened nearby structures and property.
“Early recognition and notification to the fire district allowed us the opportunity to stop the fires before they could catch the buildings on fire.” Eckles said.