Iowa Fire Marshal calls recent brush fire-related deaths ‘alarming’

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Milan Brush Fire, 4-19-14, (photo shared by Heaven D.)

Iowa hospitals have seen an increase in the number of patients being treated for, or dying from, injuries suffered in brush fires.

That increase prompted the Iowa Fire Marshal Division and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to issue a warning about what they called “the alarming number of brush fire-related deaths and injuries.”

Between February and April 2014, the Burn Treatment Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics reported three people had died and three others were injured in brush fires.  During the same time period in 2013, they reported one death and one injury from brush fires.

“All four deaths (in 2014) were of people ages 75 years and older,” said a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety.  Some of the victims had been flown to UI from surrounding states.

“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,” the DPS spokesman said.

The DPS advises checking for burn bans or restrictions before burning, never burning on dry and windy days, having water and tools available to extinguish fire and to always have another person with you when burning.