Rural Burning May Go Out Of Control

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COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fire Protection District warned Wednesday that any burning--including controlled burns--may get out of control during this hot, dry week.

District chief Gale Blomencamp said the district has responded to 60 natural cover fires since February 1. He said the major cause is open burning in rural areas.

Temperature will be unseasonably high this week, reaching the 80s. But Blomencamp said even though humidity is higher than last week, the grass is still dead and dormant with no moisture in it. Open burning could easily lead to fire in such a dry environment. As spring rain falls by mid-April, Blomencamp said the situation will get much better.

While residents living in the county can conduct open burning for natural vegetation, the BCFPD gave the following suggestions:

- Use morning hours for burning due to calmer winds and higher humidity.

- Provide a safe barrier around the burning area by mowing a clean strip or by scrapping it down to bare dirt.

- Have a water source nearby, such as a garden hose.

- Place a metal screen on barrels when using them to burn to avoid large embers from escaping and causing fire elsewhere.

- Notify the Joint Communications Center at 573-442-6131 prior to lighting the fire.

- Call 911 immediately if the fire grows larger or moves more rapidly than anticipated.