Dry conditions lead to burn bans across the Heartland

Fire Chief warns of fire danger with current weather
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 3:54 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 3:13 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Dry conditions and high winds are causing prime conditions for fires.

On Monday, the Cape Girardeau Fire Department issued a “no burn day.”

According to Cape Girardeau Fire Chief Randy Morris, the Heartland isn’t the only place seeing these conditions. Wildfires have raged in other parts of Missouri.

“It was pretty hectic,” a Wooldridge, Missouri resident told KOMU.

On Saturday, nearly their entire city was burned.

“I figured someone was maybe just burning trash outside, then the smoke just started getting more thick and saw it creep up over our old bar over here and told the wife it was time to go,” the resident continued.

KOMU in Columbia, Mo. reported the small community of fewer than a hundred people had to evacuate. A spark from a combine reportedly started the fire that consumed nearly 5 square miles of farmland.

“We’re lucky because last night we had somewhere to go, tonight we have somewhere to go and the next day I’m still gonna have somewhere to go and I’m confident to know that we will be okay,” another resident from the small central Missouri town told KOMU.

Cape Girardeau Fire Chief Randy Morris said fires like that should concern people living in the Heartland.

“Take a look at that and read that, because it could happen here very easily,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon a fire tore through a field in rural Cape Girardeau County.

“It started relatively small and grew very quickly, I think upwards of 60 acres or so was reported on fire,” the chief said.

With burn bans in place, firefighters are warning of other things that could spark a fire.

“Even the flick of a cigarette or something like that, or doing something outside with a torch, or anything that emits sparks, that could actually really start a fire,” Morris said.

The chief said residents should be vigilant.

“Report it very early, even if you think it’s not a big deal, call us, because it can very quickly turn into a big deal,” he said.

Even with rain in the forecast, Chief Morris said they will still encourage people not to burn anything as a precaution.