March winds arrive early

Those “March winds” have arrived, and it’s not even March yet.

The arrival of those winds, coupled with the tinder-dry conditions on the plains, bode very badly for when those vaunted March winds kick in officially.

Are we going to take extra care out there as we travel across the Panhandle? Let’s assume the worst, that not every one of the thousands of motorists who drive every day in our region won’t do what they must to prevent a raging range fire.

That means government has to step in. Counties across the Panhandle — all 26 of them — need to enforce outdoor burning bans aggressively. No place in the Panhandle has gotten anything close to normal amounts of rainfall so far in 2009. The ground is rock hard. The grass is crackling under the feet of grazing livestock.

We cannot prevent dry lightning strikes. But we ought to scold our neighbors when we see them flick their butts onto the grass.

No one wants a repeat of Spring Break 2006, when the plains burst into flames.

I think I’ll pray for rain tonight — and will keep praying until it arrives.