What a difference a month makes.
As Iowa entered July, conditions were dry. But none of the state's 99 counties was under a burning ban.
Now, as Iowa reaches the end of July, 59 counties ban open burning. The bans cover all areas of the state, with only the northwestern section relatively clear. The state fire marshal's office issues burn bans when local officials request one.
This month's unusually hot, dry weather has killed crops, cut water levels and turned normally green lawns into brown brillo pads. It also created prime conditions for fires to spread rapidly.
How dry is it?
At times, even the promise of rain has caused concern. As storms moved into southeast Iowa on Wednesday night, user comments on the Ottumwa Courier's Facebook page urged people to be aware of the possibility lightning could cause fast-moving fires before the rain arrived.
A current map of Iowa counties under burn bans can be found at http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/main/burnbans/index.shtml.
What a difference a month makes.
- CNHI News Service Originals
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