Weather conditions lead to more outdoor fires

Mar 11, 2014

Credit Abby Spudich / KBIA
  Low humidity and heavy winds have created opportune conditions for controlled fires to run away. Since Friday, Fire departments in mid-Missouri have responded to about 20 outside fires. “For this time of year, it’s pretty common,” said Martina Pounds, a spokesperson with the Boone County Fire District. “The weather was decent and it’s been dry for a couple days, so people were out burning their fields. And sometimes they don’t have it under control very good and it gets away from them.” Pounds says it is warmer outside and the ground is dry, so residents should be extra careful if they decide to burn. Jason Turner, Interim Chief of the Jefferson City Fire Department, says his department was kept busy Monday. “We responded to half-a-dozen calls here inside the city as a result of open burning,” Turner said. Gusting winds and low humidity increased the chance of fires becoming out of control, which prompted the Jefferson City Fire Department to request residents not burn anything Monday. Turner says one reason so many people are trying to do their burning now is because Jefferson City’s burning season ends March 15. However, Turner says residents need to refrain from burning because it is not just their property they are responsible for. “The one misleading thing people don’t understand is when you burn, you take the chance of assuming liability if you cause damage to someone else’s property, much like one of the incidents we had today,” Turner said. The Columbia Fire Department has responded to four outside fire incidents since Friday. However, outdoor burning is not allowed in Columbia without a permit, so officials had no need to request residents not burn.