As November makes its chilly way toward Thanksgiving, the weather you probably have in mind its cold, freezing rain and the occasional dash of snow.
And you know how to prepare for these things. You’ve dug the coats out of dusty recesses in your closets. You’ve stocked up on salt for your driveway, and you’ve possibly even found a snow shovel lurking somewhere in your garage.
But grass fires? Have you been thinking about those?
If the National Weather Service has its way, you will be. Because even though we might not be in a drought, counties throughout Kansas are seeing optimal conditions for quick-spreading blazes. And there are steps you can take to reduce the risk.
“All of our long grasses are pretty dry and crispy out there,” said Chris Jakub, of the NWS in Wichita, according to the McPherson Sentinel. “Conditions are definitely ripe for any possible grass fires. ... We recommend that people not do any outdoor burning and people be careful with any outdoor activities. you do not want to create sparks in any grass area.”
Locations at risk include Hutchinson, Salina and Wichita, along with Butler County and parts of Harvey and McPherson counties.
As Jakub noted, lowering the risk for these fires isn’t rocket science. Keep any fires indoors, hopefully contained within a fireplace. Now is not the time for backyard bonfires. Likewise, you don’t want to be throwing off sparks from any home repair project or backyard tinkering.
Most of us live in a contained, segmented way. We go to work and live in little compartmentalized boxes, only seeing and thinking of particular subjects and seeing certain perspectives. We know what to expect on a Monday, and we know our plans for the weekend.
But in reality, we are all parts of much larger, much less predictable systems. The prairie land of Kansas has its own implacable logic, its own weather patterns, its own risks. We are visitors here for a short time, but the land will endure long after we’re gone. We should be careful to treat it with the respect and caution it deserves during times like these.
Thankfully, we’re usually one brief rain shower or snowstorm away from reducing the risk. We should always bear in mind, though, that our choices and actions in the sprawling Kansas landscape carry the potential for far-reaching — and sometimes devastating — effects.