Crews battle grass fires across mid-Missouri on windy, dry Sunday
COLUMBIA - Firefighters responded to over a dozen grass and brush fires throughout mid-Missouri Sunday.
As of 9 p.m., Columbia firefighters had extinguished 13 grass fires throughout the city.
Batallion Chief Eric Caszatt said a fire in the 1300 block of Stonehaven Drive likely started after an ember from a chimney landed on dry grass.
"We certainly encourage people to not burn anything, really anything, outdoors on a day when there's a red flag warning," Caszatt said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a red flag warning for Sunday with unusually dry conditions and high winds making it easy for flames to spread.
NWS advised people to cancel planned burns, properly discard cigarettes, keep vehicles off dried grass, and avoid using power equipment that can create sparks.
Southern Boone County Fire Protection District also shared pictures of a car fire that spread to nearby grass on Westbrook Drive in Hartsburg.
The fires also closed roads in the area. A northbound lane of U.S. 63, north of I-70, was closed just after 5 p.m. as CFD used foam trucks to put out flames in a wooded area.
A northbound lane on U.S. 63 South near E. Forsee Road in Ashland was also shut down for a half-hour around 7:30 p.m. due to a grass fire.