Mid-Missouri has become a tinderbox

Firefighter Lisa Brinker pulled off some of her bunker gear and poured cold water slowly over her neck in an effort to cool down her body temperature as a large crew of firefighters battled a fire at Propst Auto Service on Industrial Drive.

Firefighter Lisa Brinker pulled off some of her bunker gear and poured cold water slowly over her neck in an effort to cool down her body temperature as a large crew of firefighters battled a fire at Propst Auto Service on Industrial Drive. Photo by Julie Smith.

With the Fourth of July less than a week away, fire officials around Cole County are warning Mid-Missourians about the deadly combination of hot, dry weather conditions and the use of fireworks and outdoor burning.

Steve Cearlock, Cole County Fire Protection District spokesman, said members from all the fire districts in the county, and their chiefs were meeting Wednesday night and planned a public announcement about outdoor burning, fireworks and consequences of fires in these hot, dry conditions.

“We are not really seeing an increase in fires at this time,” he said. “People seem to realize the dry weather makes conditions even worse to do outdoor burning. Nonetheless, we still want to emphasize that due to the heat and dry conditions, the addition of fireworks could make for a deadly combination, not only for humans, but property as well. It hasn’t been this dry since the late ‘60s. And with no rain since the first of the month, there’s a lot of factors we have to look at.”

As of Wednesday, only one Missouri municipality has announced plans to cancel its public firework display on July 4 due to the dry weather.

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