One of the great ironies about these waterlogged soggy times is the fact that so many area counties have enacted burn bans this spring.

This was done, obviously, not because it has been too dry — which is usually the case when such bans are enacted — but because it’s been too wet. Area rural roads have been in such terrible condition that fire officials feared their heavy trucks might sink into the roads, either tearing up the roadways badly or getting stuck in them altogether.

These have indeed been strange days.

Fortunately, warming conditions have produced some drying on those road, despite recent rains. As a result, many area counties have lifted their burn bans. Yankton is among them.

But that doesn’t mean the danger of fire trucks being unable to reach a blaze has disappeared.

In announcing Friday that the burn ban had been lifted for Yankton County, local officials noted that some roads are still very soft and may be impassible for heavier trucks.

We can bear that out to be true. While roads are drying out and firming up, there are still many rural road sections that remain spongy, which means fire trucks might not be able to reach some blazes. Land owners should keep that in mind if they intend to do any controlled burns and any other kinds of open burns in the countryside.

Also bear in mind that many roads that were closed before the ban was lifted remain closed now, which means it will take longer for fire trucks (and other emergency vehicles) to reach an emergency because, in some cases, they still can’t use what might be considered normal, faster routes.

The caveats that usually apply in the springtime now must be carried over into summer, with some modifications. Most vegetation is green now, not dormant, so burning may not be as rampant, but any fire in a field will still be hard to reach because of muddy conditions. Also, warm, windy days could raise the fire danger, but they will be slower acting on wet fields. As such, it remains imperative to call in any planned burns.

This is what the soggy spring has done to the region. It has created many headaches on various fronts, ranging from flooding to unplanted fields. But fire can still be a threat — in many ways — and that danger should always be kept in mind.


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