Metro Area On High Alert For Brush Fires

Metro area fire departments are on high alert for brush fires due to warmer temperatures and dry grounds.

Lack of snow during the winter and little rain so far this spring made the grass brittle, dry and brown. In these conditions, grass is highly susceptible to catch fire.

"Most of the time the storm prediction center has tornado outlooks and severe thunderstorm outlooks, and today that's the fire weather outlook," said Jim Meyer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service monitors severe weather patterns in the various regions. Meyers said the lack of moisture in the ground and air in Nebraska and southwest Iowa is higher than normal this time of year, but not yet alarming.

"We just want people to be on their toes," said Meyer.

With warm and dry weather, the causes of brush fires are typically man-made. People tossing their cigarette butts on the side of the road is a common cause of fires, according to Papillion La Vista's Fire Chief.

"We know those causes are man-made and therefore they are preventable, and so we want to encourage people to really think twice before they do anything that involves anything flammable or heat related out on the grassy areas," said Chief Bill Bowes.

The heavy winds make the fires more difficult to put out for fire departments. There were a few calls Wednesday for grass fires around the metro area, but all were contained quickly.

"You get an eighty-degree day with a strong south wind, and it's going to kick those fires up fast," said Chief Bowes.

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