Mark Twain National Forest
Missouri Division of Tourism

Crews are working to contain a fire that has burned about 300 acres of the 1.5-million acre Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Bill Paxton says a patrol discovered smoke Monday in a 12,000-acre area known as the Hercules Glades Wilderness. The patrol had been roving the area in Taney County because dry conditions had put it at risk for fire. Paxton said Thursday that the 35 firefighters battling the blaze are "making real good progress" and that rains that fell Wednesday helped.

Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

Fire plays an important role in many Midwestern ecosystems, but when it burns out of control it can also be devastating, as the wildfires in Oklahoma and Kansas have demonstrated. This time of year, when a lot of summer grasses and brush are still dead but the weather is warming up, the land is particularly flammable. That’s why agencies like the Missouri Department of Conservation take meticulous care in planning prescribed fire.

St. Louis Arch
paparutzi / Flickr

Fire officials say fires set at five St. Louis-area churches in little more than a week are all suspicious and likely are connected.

Leah Becerra / KOMU-TV / Flickr

Missouri's fire marshal says investigators are not able to determine the cause of an August fire in Osage Beach that killed four children.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a fire investigator's report released Tuesday found the damage was so extensive he could not determine whether the fire was started by cigarette butts in a can or by electrical wiring from an air conditioning condenser on the condo's landing. The can was on the floor of the landing between the condenser and a wall.

Lake of the Ozarks
bsabarnowl / Flickr

  A fire broke out at a Lake of the Ozarks condominium in central Missouri, killing four children.

Ozarks Red Cross / Flickr

The Holts Summit community and the American Red Cross are assisting the residents of the Evergreen Apartment complex after a fire last Friday.

“We’ve been meeting their immediate needs with some funds to buy food and clothing since most of them lost everything in the fire,” said American Red Cross Disaster Specialist Kath Mayne.

Police forcibly dispersed dozens of protesters in Ferguson early Wednesday morning after hours of  confrontation and the smashing of a window at the Beauty Town shop. Tensions had been running high since Tuesday morning when a memorial for Michael Brown burned down close to where he was killed.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Two years after Muslims in Joplin suffered the traumatic loss of their place of worship at the hands of an arsonist, a new $2 million mosque is now open.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

A $6.8 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit over a smoldering St. Louis County landfill could be in jeopardy.

Forest Fire
E Gregory / Flickr

State conservation officials suspect arson in about 20 wildfires near the Truman Reservoir in west-central Missouri in the past week.

The Department of Conservation says the fires burned more than 1,000 acres of public and private land. No injuries or structural losses have been reported, but officials say wildfires can cause significant harm and that fighting them costs money and puts people at risk.

The conservation agency says crews have fought about 50 fires this year in Henry and St. Clair counties that have burned about 3,000 acres.

Weather conditions lead to more outdoor fires

Mar 11, 2014
Columbia Fire Truck
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.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

This week, Columbia Faith & Values and its partner sites explored what happens when violence crosses thresholds in churches, synagogues and mosques. You can read the whole series on

The story we bring you today takes us to Joplin. What happens when your worship space burns to the ground, and no one even knows who or what is at fault? How do you go on?

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

On the anniversary of the suspicious fire that destroyed a mosque in Joplin, mosque officials say they are making progress in plans to rebuild.

The Islamic Society of Joplin Mosque was destroyed by fire last Aug. 6. The cause of the fire has not been determined. The mosque was damaged by another fire on July 4 of last year. That blaze has been ruled an arson.

The mosque will be rebuilt inside city limits. Navid Zaidi, a mosque board member, says no rebuilding will start until the fundraising is complete.

Ozarks Red Cross / Flickr

A disaster specialist for the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter says some residents of the Ash Street Place apartment building that caught fire Tuesday in Columbia may be able to move back in this weekend. But Phillip Iman says there will still be some residents who have to wait longer.

Photo Courtesy Bevier Mayor Bill Cosby

Two buildings are being called a complete loss after a fire in Bevier, a small town just west of Macon. Bevier Mayor, Bill Cosby, says the fire near the town’s center was reported just after midnight Thursday morning. He says the fire destroyed both the Pear Tree restaurant and the Black Diamond Association – a town history museum.

Columbia fire officials investigate two-alarm fire

Nov 1, 2012
matthewvenn / Flickr

Columbia fire officials are still investigating a two-alarm fire that broke out at a Columbia auto parts store on Business Loop 70 Wednesday night.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

It’s been about one month since a fire destroyed the only mosque in Joplin. Now, members of the Islamic Society of Joplin – and the interfaith community there – are picking up the pieces.

The mosque was burned down before daylight on August 6, during the holy month of Ramadan.

The FBI is still investigating the cause of the fire. Earlier in summer, on July 4, someone tried to set fire to the roof. That incident is still under investigation, too. 

A rally to support Muslims after a fire destroyed a mosque in Joplin is still planned, although the organizer says more money is needed to finance the event.

A fire that destroyed the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque Aug. 6 has been called suspicious but a cause has not been determined.

Organizer Ashley Carter says the rally is scheduled for Saturday at Landreth Park. She is seeking nearly $3,000 by Wednesday for insurance and rent. But she says speakers and entertainment are lined up and she expects the event to be held.

Fire destroys Joplin, Mo. mosque

Aug 6, 2012
Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

The only mosque in Joplin, Mo., has burned to the ground.  The cause of the fire is still unknown. 

The loss of property leaves the Islamic community without a place of worship in its most sacred time of the year:  Ramadan.

The imam of the mosque, Dr. Lahmuddin Lahmuiddin, had only  finished leading the special “Taraweeh” night prayers a few hours before he was awakened by a phone call from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.  That prayer takes place every night at about 10:00 during the month of Ramadan.

Lahmuddin got in his car and started driving.

Officials on the lookout for forest fires

Jul 19, 2012
Forest Fire_E Gregory_Flickr
E Gregory / Flickr

During a typical year, Missouri has a spring fire season and fall fire season. Summer is usually a downtime for forest fires. That’s not the case this year.

In June and July alone, there were 50 wildfires that burned more than 4,000 acres in the Mark Twain National Forest. Compare that to an average year, when about 5,000 acres burn over 12 months.

Boone County Fire Protection District

Another fire has been reported at a former city landfill north of Columbia.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that firefighters have been battling another grass fire Wednesday at the former site of the Columbia municipal landfill, which is south of Finger Lakes State Park. The site has burned several times over the past week.

Boone County Fire Protection District Chief Scott Olsen says buried trash at the former landfill has been smoldering and continues to start fires. He says the fires will likely continue until the weather cools.

The FBI announced Monday they were offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to charges in a fire at a Joplin mosque.

The fire was reported July 4 at the Islamic Society of Joplin. No injuries were reported, and firefighters extinguished the blaze on the roof of the center before it caused any interior damage. It was the second fire in two years at the center.

Newscast for Monday, July 16, 2012

Jul 16, 2012
Matt Evans / KBIA

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Nixon's re-election war chest grows
  • Teachers visit New Madrid to learn about famous quakes
  • Fire damages Worley Street Head Start
  • MU announces "re-imagined" University of Missouri Press

Federal officials say two fires in southern Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest have been contained, but new ones have broken out.

Arson is the suspected cause of a fire that burned about 620 acres of the Mark Twain National Forest.

Fire concerns are widening in southeast Missouri as crews battle a 550-acre blaze in the Mark Twain National Forest.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday ordered the Missouri National Guard to get ready to assist with firefighting efforts. The fire broke out Thursday in a section of the 1.5-million-acre forest located in Iron County, and the governor's office says about 2,000 additional acres are at risk.

Three suspects are facing felony charges for a series of fires in northeast Missouri, including one that destroyed a small-town playground.

The Kirksville Daily Express reports that 17-year-old Jaston Boone of Edina, 20-year-old Shelby Snelling of Baring and 19-year-old Athena Wolter of Knox City each face three counts. They are being held at the Adair County jail on $10,000 bond.

julievaughan29 / Flickr

Students planning on living at the Brookside on College apartments this fall might not find themselves too far away.

Newscast for May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012
Lukas Udstuen / KBIA

Regional news from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Construction to resume on burned apartments
  • Parade draws patriotic crowds
  • Missouri veterans' cemeteries observe Memorial Day
Lukas Udstuen / KBIA

Columbia Fire Department investigators are looking into the cause of a three-alarm fire at the Brookside on College apartment complex. Sunday’s fire caused millions of dollars in damage, destroying most of the still-under construction apartments, but the owners plan to rebuild.