Okay, it's Dec. 5 and we know we should be issuing our annual be-careful-when-you-travel editorial.
Outside, though, the grass is green - where it's watered at least. Temperatures are ranging a tad higher than a lot of places on the West Coast, and college kids are running around in shorts.
This is Dec. 5. In Iowa. Right?
While we take that reality check, there's another one we should take too. It's dry out there in the countryside. Bone dry. And it's only likely to get dryer and dryer.
With the weather, of course, comes fire danger - particularly in areas where there's tall grass that's gone unwatered.
And there are places like that all over Emmet County - abandoned farmsteads, ditches, stubble fields - all places where a tossed match or burning cigarette could start a conflagration.
Granted, we have some pretty good rural fire departments. But a big prairie fire would strain all the fire-fighting capabilities of Emmet County and then some. While we don't have a lot of forest land, we certainly have a lot of field stubble and brush in the ditches, and if it caught fire it could burn like no tomorrow.
So if you're out there hunting or four-wheeling, watch the cigarettes. If you're burning, stay with the fire until it's doused. Better yet, make sure you have a hose or several five-gallon buckets of water to put out the fire.
If you're hunting, be careful about driving through tall, grassy areas. You wouldn't have to park very long at all in tall grass to have your catalytic converter combust grass.
Hopefully, within a few weeks we'll have a few inches of snow on the ground to cuss.
Instead, right now we have to worry about prairie fires - the second week in December.
Welcome to Iowa.