JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Effective immediately, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has issued a FIRE BAN on all conservation areas. The fire ban includes prohibiting campfires and other open fires, including charcoal grills. The fire ban does permit the use of contained camp stoves and charcoal cooking fires in concrete or metal fire rings. The use of firewood in cooking fires is prohibited under the fire ban.
The use of fireworks is already prohibited on conservation areas under the Wildlife Code of Missouri.
“The fire ban is an effort to prevent wildfires under these extreme dry conditions,” said MDC Wildland Fire Supervisor Ben Webster. “The fire ban on all conservation areas will stay in effect until weather conditions change and we get significant rain.”
The U.S Forest Service and numerous counties and communities have also issued fire bans.
Webster also urges people to use caution when driving off road.
“Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel, such as grass, comes in contact with catalytic converters on motor vehicles,” he explained. “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.”
He urges smokers to practice extra caution. “Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely,” he said. “And dispose of butts responsibly.”
Webster added that people should call 911 at the first sign of any fire getting out of control, and should call Operation Forest Arson at 800-392-1111 if they see or suspect possible arson. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.