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Missouri fire marshal warns of increased risk

Missouri State Fire Marshal J. Tim Bean is advising Missourians to exercise caution during the dry and windy conditions.

“I urge Missourians to refrain from burning leaves or brush in the areas of our state where the National Weather Service and local officials are warning of elevated fire risks,” Bean said. “Conditions in most of Missouri were already abnormally dry or in moderate drought due to the lack of moisture, and in the last week the fire potential has risen considerably.”

The marshal issued the following advisories:

– Refrain from any open burning of leaves, brush or debris until conditions improve.

– Do not wait to call 911 at the first sign of a fire.

– Smokers should be extremely careful, extinguishing cigarette and cigar butts completely before disposal. Do not discard cigarettes from motor vehicles.

– Secure trailer chains to prevent dragging. A spark in contact with dry grass could start a fire.

– Off-road driving: Use caution when driving vehicles off-road. Sparks from vehicles or equipment coming in contact with dry grass can start fires in dry conditions. Catalytic converters on motor vehicles can also start fires when they come in contact with fine, dry fuel, such as grass. Always carry a fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off-road.

– Grilling: Use caution with outdoor grilling. Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited. Never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

– Fire pits: Be extra careful with fire pits, exercising the same precautions you would with an open fire. Before lighting the fire, check the wind direction. Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby. Do not overload. Do not burn trash and leaves. Avoid using soft woods that are likely to pop and throw sparks.

A map of the latest drought conditions can be seen here.

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