The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Red Flag Warning for strong winds and low relative humidity, which is in effect today until 9 p.m. tonight for an area including Grundy County.
Winds of 15 mph to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph are possible. The strongest winds will develop late this morning and aid in lowering the relative humidity to as low as 25 percent.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are occurring. A combination of strong winds and low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential. Even the smallest fire will quickly erupt to dangerous conditions.
Grundy County Fire Officials and County Emergency Management Agency stress that all outside burning during the Red Flag Warning period presents a danger and must be quickly extinguished.
Farmers are in the middle of harvest, and the farm community is reminded to take precautionary measures while in harvest. Farmers are asked to provide fire breaks by exposing dirt in manageable sections of the field so that if fire does break out that its spread across dry vegetation is slowed when it reaches exposed dirt.
High winds will cause a field fire to spread rapidly across a dry field. Keeping a disk attached to a tractor and readily available to cut additional fire breaks will aid firefighters in controlling fires
Farmers are urged to check their fire extinguishers to make sure they are proper size and have been serviced. If farmers must be in the field during the Red Flag Warning period please use extreme caution.
Smokers are reminded to always properly discard smoking materials. Throwing smoking materials out the car window and discarding materials on the ground can start a wildfire. During these conditions a fire from a cigarette will spread rapidly.
Homeowners who live an area where the wild land meets developed property are asked to clear dead vegetation (leaves, sticks, dead shrubbery, etc.) from around their homes and buildings, and to not store combustibles next to buildings.
As evident from western wildfires, grass fires can quickly spread into a dangerous, life threatening situation and cause widespread damage, injury and overwhelm local resources.
Local fire departments need your help. Call 911 immediately upon noticing any wildfire.