Agriculture
5:53 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Smoke from private controlled burning blown into downtown Columbia

A controlled burn of Tucker Prairie.
Credit Brendan Gibbons / KBIA

  The smoke that was blown into downtown Columbia on Monday originated mostly from controlled burning on private land in different locations all across the county, officials said.

Gale Blomenkamp, battalion chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District, said private burning is normal at this time of the year, as farmers are freeing up land.

“There’s nothing abnormal about this going on right now. This is our natural cover fire season, and this is also the time that people do open burning to burn off their fields etcetera,” Blomenkamp said.

Private burns have to be carried out under regulations by the Department of Natural Resources, but county residents generally have the freedom to conduct controlled burns, he said.

Other than burns on private land, the Department of Conservation also conducted a controlled burn over 200 acres at the Eagle Bluffs Wildlife Conservation Area on Monday.

However, wildlife regional supervisor John George says the Eagle Bluffs burning contributed little to the smoke over downtown Columbia.

“Our staff on-site observed most of their smoke going up the Missouri River valley and not over the hill over McBaine and towards town,” he said.

The Department reviews wind and atmospheric conditions before it conducts any controlled burns, said George.