The Department urges landowners, hunters, campers, and others in the outdoors to help prevent wildfires and offers the following tips.
- Do not conduct outdoor burning during times when grasses, brush and other fire fuel are very dry, humidity is low and weather is windy.
- Dry fuel -- combined with high temperatures, low humidity and high winds -- makes fire nearly impossible to control.
- Check with local fire departments regarding burn bans that may be in place.
- A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause.
- Done properly, prescribed fire can be a beneficial tool to improve land for wildlife habitat and grazing. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit www.mdc.mo.gov and search "Prescribed Fire."
Driving Off Road
- Wildfires can start when fine, dry fuel such as grass comes in contact with catalytic converters on motor vehicles.
- Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field.
- Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle.
- When driving vehicles off road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact and no oil leaks are apparent.
- Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road.
- Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.
Making a Campfire
- Clear a generous zone around fire rings. When humidity is low and wind is high, debris can become tinder for a stray spark or ember.
- Store unused firewood a good distance from the fire.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquid to start a fire.
- Keep campfires small and controllable.
- Keep fire-extinguishing materials, such as a rake, shovel and bucket of water, close by.
- Never leave a campfire unattended! Extinguish campfires each night and before leaving camp, even for a few moments.
Smokers: Practice Extra Caution
- Extinguish cigarettes completely and safely, and dispose of butts responsibly.
Don't Delay Calling for Help!
- Call 911 at the first sign of a fire getting out of control.
Report Forest Arson
- Many wildfires are set by vandals.
- Help stop arson by calling Operation Forest Arson at 800-392-1111. Callers will remain anonymous and rewards are possible.
DID YOU KNOW? In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, MDC provided more than $367,000 in grants to 186 volunteer fire departments last year for protective clothing, equipment, and training. The Department also obtained more than $5 million in equipment from federal government programs for volunteer fire departments in the state, and provided wildland fire-suppression training to more than 250 Missouri firefighters.
For more information on preventing wildfires, go online to mdc.mo.gov/your-property/fire/wildfire-prevention.