Brush fires are taking a toll, not just on the land and on some buildings, but on the people who are fighting them. Earlier this month, dozens of brush fires in the Lake of the Ozarks area were fought by dozens of fire departments. Now the scene is shifting to north Missouri. State agriculture director John Saunders thinks the situation is so desperate that farmers might want to avoid any burning at all. He says the financial resources of rural volunteer fire departments are being drained–and so are the energies of the volunteer firefighters. He says spring brush fires could leave rural departments hard-pressed to find resources to fight fires this summer. Saunders refers to the situation as an “extreme danger.” Some parts of the state are particularly vulnerable because last fall was dry.