Fire burns 10 acres of woodland near north Columbia subdivision

Saturday, August 18, 2012 | 5:26 p.m. CDT; updated 9:07 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 18, 2012

COLUMBIA — A fire burned 10 acres of woodland in north Columbia on Friday evening.

At around 6:30 p.m Friday, firefighters responded to reports of a fire in a wooded area near the Copper Creek subdivision on North Slickrock Drive.

It took about 45 minutes to control the fire, Chief Scott Olsen of the Boone County Fire Protection District said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Boone County Sheriff's Department. Olsen said there were unconfirmed reports of children playing with fireworks in the area.

Initial crews also found a large, circular flame pattern, which usually indicates that a fire started in one area and then spread out, Olsen said.

The crew was working to contain the fire along the edge of Tom and Carol Fick's property. The Ficks, along with their daughter Susan and their three granddaughters, were finishing their dinner when they heard a knock on their door. 

"One of our neighbors came by to ask, 'Did you know about the fire?'" Susan Fick said. That neighbor, Jackie Heaviland, saw the emergency vehicles through her window and walked outside to investigate.

Heaviland sat on a blanket with the Fick family outside their home as firefighters worked to contain the blaze. 

The three granddaughters sat under a blanket in their grandmother's lap and played with Barbie dolls as their grandparents and aunt took the opportunity to educate them on what the firefighters were doing.

Many of their neighbors came to offer their support and concern as firefighters worked to control the blaze, Carol Fick said. The fire, however, never reached the Ficks' property, and no one was injured. 

Firefighters used a direct attack on the back side of the fire using hoses, hose lines, blowers, pump cans and rakes to extinguish the fire. Firefighters set down a foam line along the eastern edge of the woods to prevent the fire from spreading, Olsen said.

Olsen said conditions are very dry right now, and people should avoid outdoor burning, watch how they discard smoking materials and refrain from using fireworks. According to previous Missourian reports, the unseasonably hot summer and lack of rain has put the area at an elevated risk of fires.

Supervising editor is Ted Hart.

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