Dry conditions raising concerns over fire hazards

By Blake Schnitker on September 8 at 12:37pm

(Photo by Anna Anderson)

The month of August was abnormally dry for Illinois, especially the last several weeks.

With little to no rainfall in the past few weeks, the moisture conditions for the thousands of acres of Illinois farmland is concerning to ag producers throughout the state.

Joining WLDS’ AM Conversation earlier this week was Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, who talks about the abnormally dry conditions, and whether or not they are considered to be drought conditions.

“We’ve got a stretch of really dry weather across the central part of the state that’s just missed out on the rains over the last two to three months. Even when we do get a rain, it’s not enough to get us recovered, it just keeps us going for about another week but that’s about it. The area across central Illinois is now considered to be a moderate drought. Now it’s not anything like the 2012 drought, it’s not as widespread or as intense, but in this particular area it’s pretty dry,” says Angel.

Angel also goes over some of the concerns that many area farmers have due to the dry conditions and the effects they might have on their crops.

“One of the things that they’re concerned about is that with all this cool weather, it could slow the development of corn and soybeans and could make them a little more vulnerable to fall frost, so the ideal case would actually be a little bit wetter and a little bit warmer,” says Angel.

In fact, the dry conditions in west central Illinois are causing concerns about fire hazards for areas farmers, with one field actually catching fire in near Woodson yesterday evening.