AUDIO: Governor Nixon spokesman Scott Holste updates us on the situation Friday evening (4:30)
National Guard at the ready
Governor Nixon has ordered the National Guard to be ready to go to Iron County to assist with the wildfire there.
Guard Spokesman Mike Roberts says reviewing resources is happening now.
Roberts says dealing with the heat is something the guard is used to after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He says work-rest cycles, hydration and knowing how to be productive in the heat will serve the civilian soldiers well if they have to respond to the Mark Twain National Forest in the Potosi area.
Roberts says the guard has some resources in fighting the fire from the air, but right now an assessment of skills, equipment and resources is taking place, including heavy equipment used in flooding and snow-storms. He says assisting with public safety and shelter is also expected.
State Emergency Operations Center activated
Governor Nixon has operated the state emergency operations center, meaning it is fully staffed and ready to coordinate efforts to protect Missourians from fires and the oppressive heat.
Saturday, Nixon is flying over the more than 50 acres of the Mark Twain National Forest with Adjutant General Stephen Danner of the National Guard, State Fire Marshal Randy Cole, Public Safety Director Jerry Lee and other emergency management officials.
Nixon says this is a proactive step as well as reactive, knowing that in addition to the wildfire in Southeast Missouri, the rest of the state is at a high risk for fires breaking out right now.
Statewide burn bans enacted
The Missouri Department of Conservation is imposing a burn ban until further notice for all conservation areas. Fireworks are already prohibited, but the burn ban says campfires and many cooking fires are also not permitted. The Conservation Department notes this is a busy season for campgrounds, and asks everyone to be safe, know the rules and follow them.
Forestry officials say even driving off-road can start a fire when conditions are this hot and dry, and that cars and ATVs can throw sparks that can start fires, which can quickly grow out of control.
Hot weather rule
Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Gunn says the state’s hot weather rule is now in effect, meaning residents cannot have their electricity disconnected for non-payment.
Missouri’s Hot Weather Rules prohibits electricity disconnection when the temperature is forecast to exceed 95 degrees or when the heat index is forecast to exceed 105 degrees.
Two reported deaths in Kansas City might be heat-related — a 60-year-old man and a one-year-old boy. The city health department is investigating what could be the first two heat-related deaths there this year.
Kansas City — like many areas of the state — had a high of 105 yesterday that felt like 108.