COLUMBIA - Fall is here, and more people are going outside and building a warm, crackling bonfire.
As the weather gets cooler, Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Gale Blomenkamp has some safety tips to make sure things don't get too hot.
“This time of the year here in mid-Missouri is pretty dry. We haven't had much rain lately,” Blomenkamp said. “If you are planning a bonfire, we would just urge people to make sure they have a nice clear area to do that.”
The low rainfall, along with the dry leaves coming off the trees, make accidents relatively easier to occur. Blomenkamp encourages people to have a water source at hand, whether it is a bucket of water or a garden hose, so a small fire will not grow beyond their control.
Brad Fraizer, assistant chief at the Columbia Fire Department, also urges people to use caution before striking that match to light the fire.
“It is a good idea to place rocks around the area that you are going to be burning if you are not using a fire pit,” Fraizer said. “That will help keep the spread of fire from spreading.”
Fraizer said people should always remove all combustible material away from the bonfire, and at the same time keep the fire at least 25 feet away from any structure that can catch on fire.
Although Boone County Fire Protection does not issue burn bans, people can see regulations on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources website, according to Blomenkamp.
“If people have questions about where they should burn or what they should burn, always call their local jurisdictions,” Blomenkamp said. “If you are within the city limits of any town, you need to make sure and follow their regulations.”