17 brush fires fought in northern Boone

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:47 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Boone County Fire Protection District battled 17 brush fires across northern Boone County over the weekend.

An above-average amount of precipitation this year has not affected the number of brush fires in the county, said Fire District Division Specialist Gale Blomenkamp.

Columbia has received 7.88 inches of precipitation in 2005, is 3.5 inches above average, said Jim Kramper, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Kramper said that trend was seen across Missouri.

Blomenkamp said the above-average amount of moisture does not affect the top layer of grass that is dead and catches fire easily.

“I think it gives people a false sense of security,” he said. “The problem we have is the grass on top is dead from the winter so that grass is not picking up any moisture.”

The Fire District fought nine brush fires on Saturday and eight on Sunday. Milder temperatures and gusty winds were partly responsible for the busy days, Blomenkamp said.

No injuries occurred and no buildings were lost in any of the weekend blazes.

Most of the fires were less than five acres in size. The most significant fire was at the 4700 block of Highway PP at 11:31 a.m. on Sunday. Twenty firefighters and six fire trucks helped control the 25-acre blaze, which threatened neighbors’ houses and out buildings.

Blomenkamp said the number of brush fires this weekend was not out of the ordinary. He said this is the time of year that the Fire District needs to remind people of basic precautions, such as monitoring wind patterns, never leaving the fire unattended and calling 911 if the fire grows out of control.

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