Wind, Dry Conditions Spark Several Weekend Fires at the Lake

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MILLER COUNTY - After a busy weekend, Lake of the Ozarks firefighters were watching Monday to make sure extinguished fires don't start up again.

Lake of the Ozarks Fire Protection District firefighters responded to over a dozen calls Sunday and high winds and dry conditions increased the need to work quickly. Ten acres on Islandview Drive in Miller County burned in addition to a smaller brush fire and a structure fire on Allen Road simultaneously Sunday evening.

Assistant Chief Matt Birdsley said this month has been the busiest January on record for the department. Typically, he said, the department sees 50-60 calls in January. This weekend the department noted its record 115th call.

Chief Mark Amsinger said there is not a clear reason for the dramatic increase in calls, but the dry conditions and strong winds are factors. The winds topped 50 miles per hour over the weekend and remained strong throughout the area Monday.

Amsinger noted the smoking, dry brush when he walked KOMU 8 through one of the burn sights Monday. The snaps need to be closely monitored to ensure the fires don't begin to burn again.

The Lake of the Ozarks Fire Protection District monitors a 42 square mile radius. Birdsley said the size of the region creates challenges for the firefighters when responding to a greater volume of calls. He said he does not believe they are short staffed, but are spread thin when working back-to-back calls.