***UPDATE 10:21 P.M.***Fire officials are also closely monitoring Thursday’s weather conditions, the possible dry conditions and gusty winds could lead to a burn ban.Currently vegetation in Missouri is ideal for fires, despite the cold temperatures. Wednesday a large blaze sparked up Highway 63 between Grindstone Parkway and Discovery Parkway.One lane on the southbound side was shut down for about 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon because smoke was so thick. The fire spread to around 175 feet, but it took crews about 20 minutes to get under control.Firefighters told ABC 17 News Cres this is a reminder of how bad the burning conditions currently are because of the exceptional drought status over the summer. The vegetation here is still feeling the affects despite its green appearance.”Well its bad, we have seen a lot worse throughout Missouri history, but on a scale of one to ten would give it about an eight,” said Jefferson City Fire Chief Jason Turner.Columbia Fire Chief Brad Fraizer was on scene of Wednesday’s fire, he said “We have had historic dry weather this year, so what happened is the vegetation dried out top to bottom so there is still a large amount of vegetation underneath that is susceptible.”Fire crews urge everyone to help prevent these unnecessary dangers. They told ABC 17 News people should be cautious and use common sense to not burn on low humidity and windy days.If people must burn they should stay away from buildings and keep a good water source nearby. Finally if people are on the road they should be smart. “The best advice to give is don’t throw your cigarette buds out on the shoulder of the highway. That’s the number one cause that we see,” said Turner.Fire officials said Wednesday’s fire was likely ignited by a spark from a damaged car or truck, therefore its crucial drivers check the condition of their car before traveling.***ORIGINAL STORY***Fire crews from Columbia and Boone County responded to reports of a natural cover fire at Highway 63 South and the AC exit in Columbia, shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday. As firefighters arrived in the area, they reported areas of reduced visibility on Highway 63 between the AC exit and Old Miller’s Road. ABC 17 News has a crew on the scene. Check back for further details on abc17news.com and ABC 17 News at 5.
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