Mid-Missouri takes fire precautions following red flag warning

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BOONE COUNTY - Most of Mid-Missouri is under a red flag warning until 7 p.m. Monday, meaning weather conditions are favorable for rapid fire growth.

KOMU 8 Weathercaster Kenton Gewecke said red flag warnings are caused by a combination of dry air and high winds. He said mid-Missouri is experiencing low humidity between 20-30 percent and winds are gusting around 30 mph.

Gewecke said another issue is that mid-Missouri has had very little rain the past couple months, so the ground is very dry as well.

Some areas such as Mexico, Fulton, parts of Audrain County and Callao have burn bans in effect Monday.

Areas that do not have a formal burn ban, but are within the red flag warning areas are still encouraged to avoid open burning today.

"When a fire starts by accident, they can grow very quickly, so people need to understand, if they see it call quickly. Call 9-1-1 immediately, so we can get a handle on it before it gets too big," Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Gale Blomenkamp said.

In addition to discouraging open burning, Blomenkamp also said it is important to be careful when disposing of cigarettes Monday.

"Those could start a fire on a day like today because grasses are dry and winds are there, so even discarding a cigarette out the window of a car could start a cover fire that we would have to put out," Blomenkamp said.

The red flag warning is just in effect until 7 p.m. Monday. Gewecke said this is because humidity is expected to rise in the next few days and the winds are expected to calm down.