Firefighters warn of high risks for fires in the Ozarks

Firefighters warn of high risks for fires in the Ozarks
Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 9:39 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Before you start a fire for your burn pile or next cookout, fire officials are cautioning against it. As the lack of significant rain continues, rural parts of the Ozarks are at an exceptionally high risk of those fires spreading.

“We’ve got farmers. We got people that want to use fire pits. And when we get out there, where there are fewer roads, it’s more farmland,” said Captain Chase Smith with the Battlefield Fire Protection District. “You know, the Ozarks, we got those rolling hills. Well, fire likes to travel up. We’ve got to be weather aware and really kind of pay attention. It could be the next two to four days. I mean, there’s no telling.”

Captain Smith says the combination of low humidity, higher winds, and the dryness we’ve been experiencing create the perfect storm for fires to grow.

Take the three fires in the greater Springfield area on September 25. One of which was behind the Springfield Humane Society. Employees there say the smoke got so bad that it got inside the facility, it forced them to put down damp towels at every door. They were even preparing to move their 300 animals.

Captain Smith says if you are going to burn, follow a few steps first.

“I would call your local fire department too and just make sure, you know, there are some departments in the area that would like you to call in, give your address, what time you’re going to burn.” Said Captain Smith, “If we know that there are any hazardous weather conditions like we have currently, we’ll let you know, maybe not burn this week, maybe next week, that’s what I would recommend.”

Captain Smith also said a call they’ll get a lot will come from people haphazardly getting rid of cigarettes while on their porches. He recommends putting them out in plant pots but instead having a little water with you to dip cigarettes into before discarding.

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