gale blomenkamp

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.

Boone County Fire Protection District officials will ask voters to approve a bond issue during the general municipal election this April.

Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp says half of the proposed $14 million bond would be spent on apparatus and equipment. The other half would go toward improving the fire district’s facilities. Voters passed a 12-year bond issue for the Fire District in 1998. After paying off that bond in 2009, the board of directors considered extending the bond issue, but decided not to do so due to the poor state of the economy.