AFD preaches awareness during drought after Wednesday grass fire

Published 3:18 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

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A grass fire Wednesday, which claimed a number of items and crept onto properties just outside of Austin, has the Austin Fire Department asking people to keep the current drought in mind when it comes to fires.

The Austin Fire Department was dispatched to the 25000 block of 540th Avenue on a report of a grass fire Wednesday afternoon, which eventually started several items on fire located on the backside of one of the properties. Those items included tires, a car, tractor, motorcycles and other various items.

Brownsdale Fire Department was also dispatched for mutual aid.

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Austin Fire Chief Jim McCoy said the cause appears to have been a fire from the night before that hadn’t been totally extinguished. When the wind picked up the fire then spread.

“Lack of moisture makes it very easy for grass and brush to catch fire,” McCoy said. “Without meaningful rainfall we should really think twice before or during a fire.”

McCoy also highlighted that any recreational fire or fire with a burn permit, must be constantly attended or be fully extinguished when not in attendance. At the same time, he said any amount that is being burned should be controllable and easily extinguished.

Any smoke is an indication that burning is still taking place.

In a final reminder, McCoy said that any fire bigger than three feet in diameter requires a burn permit, even outside the city limits. Permits can be obtained from Mower County or the Austin Fire Department if it’s within city limits.