The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says strong winds, low humidity and dry conditions this time of year mean you need to be cautious to avoid unexpected wildfires.
According to MDC’s Forestry Division, the main cause of wildfires is the improper burning of debris such as leaves or brush piles.
“It’s been drier and warmer than usual, which means fires could get out of control very quickly,” said Forestry Field Program Supervisor Ben Webster in a news release from the MDC.
MDC urges landowners, hunters, campers and others to help prevent wildfires. MDC offered the following tips in the news release:
- Do not conduct outdoor burning during times when grasses, brush and other fire fuel are very dry, humidity is low and weather is windy. Dry fuel -- combined with high temperatures, low humidity and high winds -- makes fire nearly impossible to control.
- Check with local fire departments regarding local burn ordinances or burn bans that may be in place.
- A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause.
- Done properly, prescribed fire can be a beneficial tool to improve land for wildlife habitat and grazing. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit mdc.mo.gov[links.govdelivery.com] and search "Prescribed Fire."
MAKING A CAMPFIRE
- Clear a generous zone around fire rings. When humidity is low and wind is high, debris can become tinder for a stray spark or ember.
- Store unused firewood a good distance from the fire.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquid to start a fire.
- Keep campfires small and controllable.
- Keep fire-extinguishing materials, such as a rake, shovel and bucket of water, close by.
- Never leave a campfire unattended! Extinguish campfires each night and before leaving camp, even for a few moments.
SMOKERS: PRACTICE EXTRA CAUTION
- Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely, and dispose of butts responsibly.
DON'T DELAY CALLING FOR HELP!
- Call 911 at the first sign of a fire getting out of control.
REPORT FOREST ARSON
- Many wildfires are set by vandals.
- Help stop arson by calling Operation Forest Arson at 800-392-1111. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.
For more information on preventing wildfires, click here.