Columbia Fire Department Responds To Increased Amount of Fires

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COLUMBIA - Investigators ruled both the Crown Center Farm's fire and Country Club Apartments fire as unintentional Wednesday evening.

Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer said that the department has responded to more fires than usual in the past month.

"We have definitely lately, the last 30 days or so have seen a big increase in natural cover fires," Fraizer said.

KOMU 8 Weathercaster Rosie Newberry says the increase in the amount of fires in the area doesn't come as a surprise. Newberry said the mid-Missouri area, especially Columbia, has been in a drought. 

"It was two years ago that we ended up about a foot behind for all rain the entire year," Newberry said. "We've had to struggle out of the drought we created a couple years back even within the last year and moving into this one. Unfortunately for this year, 2014, we're already three inches behind where we need to be."

The area is lacking moisture and water and is experiencing too much wind.

According to Newberry, last week Columbia experienced 30 mph winds while the normal expectation is 5 mph to 10 mph.

Fraizer said the excess wind could be the cause of so many fires growing lately. 

"If there's an ember that does come in contact with that dry vegetation, the high winds really speed up the process and get it moving quickly," Fraizer said.

The spontaneous weather has a direct effect on everyone.

"It may not to your normal city walker necessarily have a lot of impacts unless their house is necessarily catching fire from these wild fires that have been spreading," Newberry said. "But certainly for the agricultural community it has a much larger impact."

For tips on how to deal with severe weather and preventing fires in your home click here.