UPDATE 6:00 p.m.: At least 50 cars were on fire at a Callaway County junkyard near the Millersburg exit Friday afternoon.
North Callaway Fire Protection District Chief Lana Karhoff said the fire started from a burning pile of debris outside a nearby home.
Gene Nichols told ABC 17 News he started the small fire in his backyard Friday afternoon that eventually spread to the scrapped cars. He said there was no wind when he started burning, but when it picked up, the fire got out of control.
Nichols said he tried running water from the house to the spreading blaze, but it quickly became too much for him to handle.
“It almost acted like there was gasoline on the ground,” Nichols said. “But it wasn’t that, it was just burning the top.”
Chief Karhoff says the terrain gave the dozens of volunteers a hard time fighting the flames. The burning cars sat far away from the road, and firefighters could only get a few apparatus close to the burning cars.
“We’re just a long ways from the road, and it’s a lot of fires to put out at one time.”
The Boone County Fire Protection District says they don’t recommend anyone burning outside the weekend of February 27, due to the combination of dry grass, low humidity and strong winds.
“Rright now is not a very good time to burn,” Chief Karhoff said. “There’s dry fuels on the ground. Even a little bit of wind, um, not properly managed, can get away easily.”
ORIGINAL STORY: 2/26/15, 3:49 p.m.: Firefighters are battling a fire at a scrap lot in Callaway County about ten minutes east of Columbia.
ABC 17 News crews on the scene report at least 20 vehicles are on fire in a lot off Interstate 70 near Millersburg.
Crews on scene report firefighters are keeping them away from the fire and that loud explosions are being heard from the area.
Watch ABC 17 News at 5:00 for a live report from the scene.