Dangerous conditions fuel fires across mid-Missouri

1 year 10 months 3 weeks ago Saturday, February 25 2017 Feb 25, 2017 Saturday, February 25, 2017 5:00:00 PM CST February 25, 2017 in News
By: Matt Vereen, KOMU 8 News Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA — Boone County experienced at least a dozen fires Feb. 18, a number that did not surprise fire officials.

That is because Missouri is currently in what officials refer to as “wildland fire season” or “natural cover fire season.”

Boone County Fire District Bureau Director Gale Blomenkamp said fire seasons in the Midwest can start as early as December and stretch into late March.

“The conditions that we’re seeing is the ten-hour fuels, which are your grasses and twigs, are very dry. And then we have relatively low humidities on some days and then erratic winds,” Blomenkamp said.

This dangerous mixture of conditions can quickly turn a small, controlled fire into a scary situation. James Barnard learned that lesson the hard way.

Barnard, a Columbia resident, was looking to burn off some weeds that had collected near his barn when suddenly the flames went out of control.

“The wind picked it up and just took it and it went off into the grass,” Barnard said.

While he had been closely monitoring the flame and had water nearby, he was still unable to stop the fire from spreading through part of his yard.

“I tried to put it out. My neighbor helped me, but it was too hot and too fast,” Barnard said.

The fire had spread almost 100 yards across his lawn in just 20 minutes. The flames did not move toward his house; instead they passed in front of it and were halted by a gravel road.

Firefighters were quickly on the scene and had the fire completely under control within an hour.

Barnard's story is not unusual for this time of year. Controlled burns are common in the Midwest as people clear their fields or get rid of unwanted plants.

Blomenkamp said no matter how closely a fire is monitored, conditions can spread the flame faster than people can fight it.

“The best thing that the public can do is monitoring the weather conditions. If you have winds of 5-10 miles per hour, we would ask you not to burn,” Blomenkamp said.

For firefighters, combating flames spurred by such conditions is part of the job. Most people, however, probably do not have the tools needed to prevent severe property damage or worse.

Some families learn this lesson at a far higher cost than Barnard, but he’ll never forget just how dangerous this season can be.

“It’s a lot more hazardous than I ever dreamed. It just went so fast,” he said.

Barnard has some advice for people thinking about ignoring the warning signs.

“Just don’t do it. Wait for better conditions,” he suggested.

Blomenkamp said the most important thing for people to do is call their local fire department so firefighters can do their job. He said having a water source nearby is also a good idea.

The wildland fire season could last until late March. Anyone with questions about having a controlled burn should contact their local fire station.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri appeals court says a lower court judge was wrong to order a woman to... More >>
11 minutes ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:34:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City couple claims in a federal lawsuit that state requirements for foster parents who... More >>
33 minutes ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – There are 28 more deer from 11 Missouri counties that have chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:45:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sen. Josh Hawley plans to move his family to a suburb of Washington D.C., but will... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:04:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – As the partial government shutdown continues in Washington, Heart of Missouri United Way is stepping up to help... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 9:12:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA -- Police confirmed one man was shot and killed early Thursday morning. In a press release, CPD said... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 6:21:00 AM CST January 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's budget and State of the State address Wednesday... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:55:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is proposing a $351 million bond to repair or replace 250... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:29:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
Watch KOMU 8 newscasts and download the KOMU WX app for live coverage and alerts. COLUMBIA - Another winter... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:23:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA- Lately, mid-Missourians have had the chance to build a snowman or go sledding and then eventually warm up next... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:08:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – An expert warns that two snow events, one after the other, may affect your roof. Although city... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 6:38:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man killed after allegedly shooting at St. Louis detectives was facing charges for shooting a... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:15:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A former student alleges in a lawsuit that Drury University didn't protect her after she was sexually... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The friend of a man killed on Sarazen Drive over the weekend says investigators told him John Albers... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:46:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A University of Missouri-Kansas City professor has resigned after being accused of coercing foreign graduate students... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:46:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD — A Missouri health provider will have to pay tens of millions of dollars to a former patient... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 1:13:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Applications are now available for a giveaway designed to provide computers for low-income families. The city relinquishes... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:26:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney general Eric Schmitt announced a settlement with Fiat Chrysler and auto parts supplier Bosch over unlawful... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 11:05:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
1pm 35°
2pm 35°
3pm 35°
4pm 35°