The Manhattan Fire Department is urging citizens to be extra vigilant regarding outdoor fire safety due to the extremely dry conditions. Due to the recent temperatures at or near 100 degrees and the lack of significant rainfall, vegetation around the area is becoming a hazardous fuel. “With the extremely dry conditions we are experiencing, it is easy for an ignition source to start a fire that under normal conditions may not ignite,” stated Manhattan Fire Investigator Rick Stillwagon. Stillwagon adds, “once a fire starts, it can grow exponentially and make the firefighters’ job of controlling a fire very difficult.”
The two leading causes of outdoor fires in Manhattan are discarded cigarettes and improperly disposed of coals. The Manhattan Fire Department recommends that cigarettes are disposed of in a non-combustible container such as a metal pail filled with sand. If using a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are completely cooled before attempting disposal. Often times fires are started because the occupant believes the coals are cool and disposes of them by dumping them on the ground or placing them into a combustible container.
The Manhattan Fire Department is not allowing any current burn permit holders to conduct any open burning. We also recommend that citizens do not use outdoor fireplaces or conduct any legal recreational fires other than those contained in approved cooking devices.
In order to prevent a wildfire from threatening your home, the Kansas Forest Service (KFS) recommends that grass be mowed short for 30 feet in all directions around your home and that the area should not contain combustible vegetation that could allow fire spread from one plant to another. KFS also suggests that the first three feet directly around your house should be non-combustible material, or if it is combustible material, homeowners should periodically wet down the area around the house. If you have specific questions about protecting your home from wildfire you can call the Kansas Forest Service at 785-532-3300 and request a fire safety evaluation of your property.