MY SWEATSHIRT REEKS of smoke, as if I’ve been sitting around a campfire for hours.
But in reality, I’ve only stepped into my backyard for several minutes, into the strong scent of smoke drifting from across the street a few houses away.
Honestly, I could not believe my eyes. Who, in their right mind, would burn leaves in tinder dry conditions like this? Apparently my neighbor.
Only an hour ago, I heard a local radio broadcaster announce a burning ban issued by the sheriff in Rice County. Given the dry conditions, only recreational campfires and grilling are allowed.
The National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning” for the western half of Minnesota from the northern to southern borders. Gusty winds and low relative humidity in an already dry landscape are creating “critical fire weather conditions,” according to the NWS.
Heed the warning, Minnesotans. Use common sense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a warning from the NWS or a directive from the sheriff to tell you that burning leaves, or anything else for that matter, today or anytime soon would be a very bad idea.
I kept expecting to hear the wail of fire trucks racing to my neighbor’s house. I live along a heavily-traveled street. It’s happened before that a passerby has called the fire department when a neighbor has been burning leaves.
HAVE YOU HAD any fires in your neighborhood today or recently? If so, send me a report via a comment.
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling