Open burn season brings increased fire danger

1 year 1 month 3 days ago October 31, 2015 Oct 31, 2015 Saturday, October 31 2015 Saturday, October 31, 2015 4:38:00 PM CDT in News
By: Eric Yount, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - Despite cooler temperatures, there is still a risk for fires with mid-Missouri's unseasonably dry conditions.

The open burn season in Jefferson City starts Nov. 1 and runs through March 1, 2016. Residents will be allowed to dispose of yard waste, such as leaves and trimmings, by burning it in small fires during daylight hours.

"The problem with it being unseasonably dry for a lengthy period of time is that some of the fields are very dried out," said Capt. Charles Skornia of the Jefferson City Fire Department. "It takes a lot of rain to actually moisten them up again."

The National Integrated Drought Information System places most of mid-Missouri in the category of a moderate drought. Because of the drought, Skornia urged residents to burn with extra caution. He said people have gotten severely injured as a result of burning yard waste in their backyards. However, it's not only the fire that can be a danger. Smoke from burning piles can not only bother neighbors, but also settle in the city when there is no wind, adversely affecting the air quality.

"Because those particles of combustion are heavier than air they'll descend into the lower part of the atmosphere. And they'll hang around until they settle out completely or blow away."

The department is asking residents to avoid burning their yard waste on Nov. 7 because of a cross-country meet for those reasons.

 To control injuries from fire and smoke, Skornia said it is important to have a way to quickly douse the fire, something he said some residents sometimes forget. He also said that a hot fire will reduce the amount of smoke emitted.

Jefferson City residents who choose not to burn can bring their yard waste to the compost facility at 2417 Southridge Drive for free. Bill Kirchoff, the compost site manager, said he sees a large increase in the size of the compost piles this time of year.

"In the spring and the fall our intake of yard waste is substantial. In the fall it is so busy."

More information on the open burn policy can be found on the department's website.

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