IDNR urges caution to prevent wildfires
warm, dry spring weather could contribute to fire danger
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[April 09, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department
of Natural Resources is reminding Illinoisans and visitors to the
state to take precautions to prevent wildfires -- especially with
the unusually warm and dry weather in the state this spring.
"Our IDNR staff and local fire agencies have already been busy this
spring dealing with wildfires at state sites. We're encouraging
visitors to our state parks, state forests, other state sites, and
federal and local forest and parkland -- as well as private
landowners -- to be extra vigilant this spring in preventing fires
because of the unseasonable weather that could contribute to even
more fires in the coming weeks," said Tom Wilson, the department's
program manager for forest protection.
"We encourage our Illinois
residents to become our eyes and ears while enjoying the beauty of
our state parks and other forest preserves during warm weather. By
becoming more vigilant and educated on wildfire safety, serious
incidents of fires on state sites can be prevented," said Larry
Matkaitis, state fire marshal.
Fires in March burned nearly 400 acres at Sand Ridge State Forest
in Mason County and dozens of acres of parkland at Lincoln Trail
State Park in Clark County. Last November, nearly 1,500 acres of
heavily wooded hunting ground burned in a wildfire at Pere Marquette
State Park in Jersey County.
Among wildfire prevention and safety measures suggested by the
IDNR Division of Forest Resources:
burning when winds are above 5 mph or when the relative humidity
is below 40 percent.
Burn in protected
areas only, with no combustible materials within 10 feet around
for small fires and 50 feet for larger fires.
Prior to burning,
check the National Weather Service's fire weather forecast for
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Avoid welding and
grinding in areas with dry vegetation, and make sure that
machinery is in good working order (bearings greased; avoid
dragging chains and parts).
especially those with catalytic converters, avoid parking in
areas with tall vegetation.
be small, in protected areas and burned during nighttime hours
within fire grates or fire rings.
Be careful to
safely dispose of lit cigarettes, cigars or other smoking
Have a bucket of water and shovel on
hand, and be sure to thoroughly drown out the fire prior to
leaving the area.
Anyone spotting a wildfire should report it to the nearest fire
department, law enforcement office, IDNR office or U.S. Forest
Service ranger station.
Department of Natural Resources file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]