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Mid-Missouri firefighters discourage people from controlled burning

According to dispatch reports, Boone County and Columbia firefighters have responded to at least 40 fires in mid-Missouri during the month of February.

Seven fires happened Saturday before 3 p.m.

Boone County firefighters responded to a fire that scorched about 50-70 acres of land near the Pinnacles.

Assistant Boone County Fire Chief Gale Blomenkamp says some residents were trying to burn a small garden plot at about 10 a.m. but about two hours later high winds blew the fire back out of control.

He said firefighters got there about noon to try to control it, but the wind changed direction and spread the fire across the road. Blomenkamp said it got out of control a second time.

They were on scene until about 3 p.m. to monitor hot spots and keep the nearby structures out of harm’s way.

North Callaway County firefighters also responded to an out of control brush fire Friday afternoon. It spread to a nearby salvage yard and caused about 50 cars to explode.

The man who started the fire says he tried burning debris and the fire got out of control.

Blomenkamp says this weekend is not the time to be burning, especially with the strong wind gusts and dry vegetation.

“Until thing’s start greening up, we’re going to be battling these types of natural cover fires.,” he said. “On days like today when we have very low humidity and gusty breezy winds, this is just what we’re going to face. This is a very dangerous time to be doing any open burning whatsoever.”

He said people should call their local fire jurisdiction to find out if they can burn, but most likely the answer will be no.

He also said starting a massive brush fire could have expensive consequences.

“Whatever property it damages, those people are liable for that,” he said. “You burn down someone’s house, someone’s barn, someone’s farm equipment, that’s a pretty significant price tag.”

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