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Dry conditions create heightened wildfire danger in western Missouri

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Published on: Oct. 7, 2011

KANSAS CITY Mo -- Dry conditions and wind are creating severe fire danger for the Kansas City region, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) urges precautions to prevent dangerous wildfires.

“High winds, low humidity and warm temperatures are creating the fire danger,” said MDC Forestry Regional Supervisor Mark Nelson.

Counties south of Kansas City were especially hard hit by drought this summer, leaving vegetation susceptible to fire. But the entire the region is dry now both north and south of the city. Weather forecasters are not calling for the possibility of rain until next week, so fire danger will linger.

Vegetation is dry enough that it will burn even if green, Nelson said. Wind adds to the threat because with dry conditions fire can move faster than emergency personnel can control.

MDC foresters recommend:

  • Avoid all outdoor burning when the National Weather Service issues red flag warnings, which are when humidity is extremely low and winds are strong.
  • Even when red flag alerts are not issued this autumn, be extra cautious about outdoor burning. Leave no fire unattended until the last ember is out and cold to the touch.
  • Be cautious operating machinery in fields. A spark can cause a blaze under dry conditions.
  • Report any wildfire immediately by calling 911 or your local fire department.

It will take significant rainfall, not just quick showers, to reduce fire dangers, Nelson said. Citizens should enjoy the outdoors this autumn but be cautious about fire.

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http://mdc.mo.gov/node/16284