The National Weather Service has issued a “Red Flag Warning” for much of Missouri. According to the NWS, “This means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly.
A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential. For more information from the NWS, visit http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/
The Missouri Department of Conservation urges landowners, hunters, campers, and others in the outdoors to follow these precautions to protect lives, property and Missouri’s precious forests.
Do not conduct outdoor burning during red-flag conditions. Dry fuel combined with high temperatures, low humidity and high winds make fire nearly impossible to control. Check with local fire departments regarding burn bans that may be in place. A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit www.mdc.mo.gov and search “Prescribed Fire.”
Driving Off Road
Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel, such as grass, comes in contact with catalytic converters.
· Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field.
· Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle.
· When driving vehicles off road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact and no oil leaks are apparent.
· Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road.
· Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.
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 if it’s just for a few moments).
Smokers: Practice Extra Caution
· Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely and dispose of butts responsibly by burning them in a controlled campfire or packing them out.
Don’t Delay Call 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 800-392-1111. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.