Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation works with fire departments to help put out thousands of wildfires that can consume tens of thousands of acres. Help prevent wildfires by observing the following tips.
Prescribed fire can be a beneficial land management tool when done properly. Fires can easily become out of control if necessary precautions are not taken. In fact, the main cause of wildfire in Missouri is improper burning of debris, such as trash and brush piles. Remember, a person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause.
Before starting an outdoor burn:
- Check the weather: Do not conduct outdoor burning when humidity is low, weather is windy, and grasses, brush, and other fire fuel are dry. These conditions make fires nearly impossible to control.
- Ask your local fire department if there is a burn ban in place.
Driving off road
Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel, such as grass, brushes against catalytic converters on motor vehicles. Keep the following tips in mind when driving off road:
- 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 spark arresters on ATV exhausts.
Making a campfire
Follow these best practices when creating 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.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Keep campfires small and controllable.
- Store unused firewood a good distance from the fire.
- 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.
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.