Learn Before You Burn

Whether you plan to burn a small trash pile or an entire field, it's imperative that you check the current weather conditions as well as the forecast. A simple shift in wind direction or an increase in wind speed can cause a fire to quickly grow out of control. Remember, you are responsible for any damages, injuries, and even deaths that occur as a result of the fire you started.

Please follow the five steps below before starting your fire:

1. Check the Fire Danger Index

Issued daily April 1 through November 15, and at other times when necessary.

Sun, Oct 24, 9:37 AM: LOW FIRE DANGER

National Weather Service Sioux Falls

Definitions

Definitions

Click the tabs above to view the various fire danger definitions

Low

Favorable weather conditions or a high moisture content of grasses and other dry organic material on the ground indicate that the probability of a fire occurrence is low. Outdoor burning under these conditions can usually be performed with reasonable safety precautions.

Moderate

Marginal weather conditions or a lowering moisture content of grasses and other dry organic material on the ground indicate that there is some potential for a fire occurrence. Do not leave outdoor fires unattended under these conditions.

High

Unfavorable weather conditions or a low moisture content of grasses and other dry organic material on the ground indicate that there is a moderate to high potential for a fire occurrence. Outdoor burning should be restricted to early morning or evening hours when wind speeds usually lower and the relative humidity is higher.

Very High

Very poor weather conditions or a very low moisture content of grasses and other dry organic material on the ground indicate that dangerous burning conditions exist. Fires will spread rapidly and show erratic behavior. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

Extreme

Extreme weather conditions or a very low moisture content of grasses and other dry organic material on the ground indicate that critical burning conditions exist. A fire will start easily and has the potential to become large and spread quickly becoming erratic with extreme behavioral characteristics. No outdoor burning should take place.

Catastrophic

Any fire on the ground is expected to be large and erratic, traveling at high rates of speed and a challenge to fight. No outdoor burning should take place.

Source: National Weather Service Sioux Falls - Issued daily from April 1 through November 15, and as needed during other times of the year. Learn more

 

2. Check the Current Weather Conditions

Pay particular attention to the wind direction and speed as well as the humidity. The lower the humidity, the drier the air and the more likely that fire can spread. Combine low humidities with strong winds and the fire can quickly become erratic and fast moving.

Current Conditions

 

3. Check the Forecast

Weather conditions can change quickly. For example, a cold front could quickly move through the area, changing winds from a southerly to northerly direction in a short period of time. Use the hourly forecast below to see what the weather conditions will be hour-by-hour for the next 48 hours. To get the hourly forecast for the next seven days, click here. (The hourly weather forecast is created by the Sioux Falls National Weather Service Office.)

National Weather Service Sioux Falls

 

4. Have fire extinguishing materials close by

Materials including a water supply, shovels and rakes. The water supply could be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, a pump can or garden hose - and be sure to test it out before igniting the fire. You do not want to find out that the water is still shut-off at the house faucet or that the hose is cracked when you need it most. For larger burns, have machinery close by such as disks or cultivators.

 

5. Notify the Communications Center of your fire

Before you burn, call 712-336-2525 and give the dispatcher your name, phone number and the address where you'll be burning. We frequently receive calls from people reporting fires. When we get these types of calls, we must dispatch the fire department unless we know that the fire is a controlled burn. Calling in your controlled burn will save the fire department the time and expense of having to respond and save your tax dollars!

 

Tips for Conducting Open Burning