WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 22, 2010, 10:34 AM

Warm weather allows area farmers to start burning earlier

(WDAY TV) – The recent warm weather and the lack of rain has farmers out in their fields, burning earlier than usual. Tom Beaton farms 850 acres just North of Fargo. Looking around the sight of smoke and fire in the fields is a rare sight this time of year.

Tom Beaton: "Oh yeah, big time early this year for us."

It's either too cold or his fields are under water this time of year, and the smoke you see today typically isn’t a sight until middle of May.

Tom Beaton: "This was all under water this spring and it washed the straw up in to big win rows, so in order to get through with the cultivator and drill we have to burn it.”

Most that burn off their fields call the Red River dispatch and tell where and when they will be burning to avoid 911 calls. But warm weather brought an early burn season and a few forgetful burners.

Cameron Novak: "We had one where somebody was driving on the interstate and got called or called us thinking it was an uncontrolled burn or one that had got-in out of hand or one that wasn’t being watched and it turned out we drove up and down the interstate and couldn't find anything.”

Since April 14th the Red River dispatch has taken 74-calls in Clay County and 27 in Cass from farmers saying where they plan to burn. A number that has almost reached their normal May numbers.

Cameron Novak: "It saves us a lot of time and confusion and it keep us off the roads and keeps us from pushing people aside."

So for farmers like Tom Beaton, his call ahead saved a trip for the fire department and an early burn will hopefully bring him an early planting year.

If you plan on burning within city limits, you should check with your city on their burning restrictions. Anyone burning in rural areas should contact Red River dispatch at 451-7660, and let them know what time and where you plan to burn.