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‘Very high’ crop fire danger for northwest Iowa

By Jared Strong

There was almost no rainfall in Iowa this past week, and the risk of fires associated with harvest are elevated in the western part of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

There now are “very high” risks of cropland fires in areas of northwest Iowa, the service says.

“Though portions of northern Iowa received its first widespread freeze last week, drier and warmer conditions are expected to persist for the foreseeable future and farmers should remain vigilant about combine and field fire risks,” said Mike Naig, the state’s secretary of agriculture.

So far, there have been at least three fires in northwest and northeast Iowa associated with this year’s harvest.

Statewide, the average rainfall last week was .01 inches, according to a Monday report from State Climatologist Justin Glisan. Typically, about three-quarters of an inch of rain falls in a week this time of year. This past week was also about 4 degrees cooler than normal.

About 11% of the state’s corn crop had been harvested as of Sunday, and 26% of soybeans were harvested, according to a Monday report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Both remaining crops in the field were rated 61% good to excellent, a slight drop from last week. Dry conditions have worsened statewide, with “extreme” drought spreading across northwest Iowa. In that region, less than a fifth of farmland has adequate moisture for growing crops.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of the States Newsroom, a network of similar news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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