Grass fire danger despite heavy snowfall

LINCOLN COUNTY, MO (KTVI)– Low humidity contributed to multiple grass and brush fires in rural Lincoln County this week. The National Weather Service issued an ‘elevated fire danger’ warning.  Despite the winter`s snow, dried grass, brush and leaves provide plenty of kindling for brush fires.

Tuesday a property owner near Silex began burning garden brush but winds blew embers onto nearby grass. At least eight acres burned along with several out buildings before firefighters were able to bring the fire under control.

“This is one of our busier years so far,” said Barry Nuss, public information officer for the Lincoln County Fire Protection District.  Nuss believes many residents assume there is no danger of fire after the winter`s heavy snow fall.  “In fact, the grass and the vegetation on top of the wet soil are very, very dry because of low relative humidity.” 

Nuss said his department has taken out ads and asked residents not to burn for the time being. “I think they really just don`t realize how dry it is and how quickly it can spread with the winds that we`re having, 12 to 15 miles per hour today.”

If you must burn paper or trash, experts warn having a method of extinguishing fire is not enough in itself.  Nuss says you should never leave a fire unattended even when it has reached the smoldering staged.

A trash fire in a metal drug is blamed for a few embers that caught grass on fire.  That blaze spread to a wood pile stacked up against the house on Route D outside Hawk Point.  A local policeman spotted the blaze and got the residents out safely.  They were unaware of the fire spreading across their attic.

Betsey.bruce@tvstl.com
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