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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Green vegetation lessens grass fire reports

  • While recent rains have kept area vegetation fairly green, that wasn’t the case one year ago when grass fires consumed hundreds of acres in this area, which prompted a 2012 burn ban.
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    While recent rains have kept area vegetation fairly green, that wasn’t the case one year ago when grass fires consumed hundreds of acres in this area, which prompted a 2012 burn ban.
    Paul Simpson, rural fire coordinator at COEDD, said none of the fire chiefs in Pottawatomie County have reported problems with grass fires this summer.
    And what few grass fires they’ve had, fire crews have been able to get under control quickly, he said.
    “We’re in a green condition,” Simpson. “It’s nothing like last year.”
    In July 2012, an Earlsboro wildfire burned more than 650 acres in two days, resulting in Pottawatomie County commissioners enacting a burn ban on July 30.
    While there is no burn ban in place right now, commissioners keep the matter as a standing agenda item for each weekly meeting, just in case action is needed.
    With recent rains, and up two inches of rain possibly in the forecast today and into tonight, that’s more good news for the area, Simpson said.
    “Right now, we’re in good shape,” Simpson said, calling any additional rain a blessing.
    Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said his department hasn’t responded to a grass fire since July 5.
    “Everything is greened up,” William said.
    But the chief said the rains and growing green grass also is a “double-edged sword.”
    “The beneficial rains have greened everything up,” Williams said. But when pastures aren’t cut and those tall grasses go dormant this fall, “everything will be a tinderbox.”
    But for now, there aren’t many worries about a major grass fire problem, but preparations can be made now to help in the future.
    To prevent problems once grasses do go dormant, Simpson said residents should keep grasses cut short, especially around any structures, such as homes and barns.
     
     

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