My family started chopping corn this week, nearly a month ahead of schedule. If you've been wondering why I'm so hard to get ahold of this week, that's why. I'm running the silage wagons between the field and the silage pit to help my dad and brothers. Silage chopping is something that generally gets done around Labor Day each year, however, the unusually dry conditions have pushed harvest ahead. The corn looks OK in some spots, not so OK in others, but everybody can see that for themselves. I'll digress to a larger issue that came to the forefront yesterday as I was driving into town after we had finished chopping.
Many of you probably heard the fire sirens going off in town around 12 p.m. yesterday. Those fire trucks were heading 9 1/2 miles south of town to put out a fire alongside Highway 15 which could have been started by any number of things...a spark from an exhaust, an errant cigarette thrown out of a passing car window, or some other freak accident. I passed the fire just as it was getting going, and I did not hesitate to call it in to the 911 dispatchers. Luckily, someone else had already notified authorities and fire trucks were on their way. I was amazed at how quickly the fire took off in dry, drought scorched grass along the highway. The current weather conditions are providing the perfect storm for something like this to happen, even in town. My advice to everybody is to protect your real estate investments and make wise choices when it comes to open flames of any kind. Fire pits and open burning should be a major concern for everybody, and the dry conditions are providing plenty of tinder for a fire to immediately become out of control.
If you must burn an open flame, be sure to keep extinguishers or water nearby in case of an emergency, and never leave a fire unattended. The warning I heard on the radio just this morning says it best, "If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave." An uncontrolled fire can mean significant property losses for you or your neighbors. Keep this in mind as we try to deal with the drought as best we can. Welcome Home.