The State Fire Marshal is asking residents to “avoid burning” or starting brush fires, at least for the time being.
In a news release, Fire Marshal Tim Bean says with the ongoing drought conditions throughout the Ozarks, any fire started could quickly spiral out of control into a much larger brush or wildfire.
He says the significant lack of rainfall, low humidity, gusty winds and warm temperatures are also a major factor.
Portions of southwest Missouri are experiencing extreme drought conditions
Because of the threat of fires rapidly spreading because of a lack of significant rainfall, low humidity values, dry fuels, and gusty winds and warm temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday, State Fire Marshal Tim Bean is discouraging outside burning.
“Under the current drought and weather conditions, even a small outdoor fire can get out of control and spread rapidly, with the potential for property damage and injury,” State Fire Marshal Bean said. “It is extremely important for all Missourians to remain vigilant about the fire danger across the state and to help avoid tragedies resulting from ill-advised outdoor burning.”
According to the United States Drought Monitor, the following Missouri counties are currently experiencing Extreme Drought: Barry, Christian, Greene, Lawrence and Stone.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Missourians have been spending time on home improvements and landscaping and clean-up projects around their homes. These projects can in include gathering and burning leaves, limbs, dead trees, grass, and other debris. Bean urged Missourians to delay any burning and to comply with local recommendations.
While Missouri is not known for the large wildland fires that regularly affect some western states, dry conditions, low humidity and strong winds can often combine to create dangerous brush and wildland fires. Arid and windy conditions can lead to wildfire dangers at any time of year.
Fire Marshal Bean reminded Missourians to never throw out lit cigarettes and always check for local burn bans or restrictions before conducting any open burning.
For questions or concerns about outdoor burning, please contact the Division of Fire Safety at (573) 751-2930. More outdoor burning safety tips are available on the DFS website here.