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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
May 6, 2014

amurphy@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

Recent Brush Fire Related Deaths Cause Concern

Des Moines, IOWA – The State Fire Marshal Division and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ Burn Treatment Center are warning Iowans of the alarming number of brush fire-related deaths and injuries.

Between February and April this year, the UI Burn Treatment Center reports three people have died and three others have been injured as a result of brush fires.  During that same time period last year, 2013, the Burn Treatment Center reported one death and one injury from burns sustained in brush fires.  All four deaths were of people ages 75 years and older. Not all of these victims were Iowans; some were flown in from surrounding states.

As more Iowans begin burning brush, officials warn people to keep a close eye on the dry and windy conditions. Brush fires can pose a serious threat to lives and property when out of control.  The recent spike in senior adult deaths related to brush fires has officials warning that the risk of injury increases as one’s agility, vision and hearing diminish.
To prevent the spread of brush fires and other debris, keep in mind the following:

  • Check for county burn bans, city restrictions and with the Department of Natural
    Resources (DNR) Air Quality before conducting any open burning.
  • Never burn on dry and windy days.
  • Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area.
  • Do NOT burn alone, always have another person with you.
  • Do NOT leave a fire unattended.
  • Call 911 immediately if a fire does get out of hand.

Media inquiries about outdoor fire safety, contact Special Agent in Charge Ron Humphrey, State Fire Marshal Division at (515) 725-6145.

Media inquiries for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, contact Molly Rossiter at (319) 356-7127.

 

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