Missouri’s forest fire fighters are waiting for calls from the west, where forest fires are burning hundreds of acres.
Three wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico have burned more than 325,000 acres. Two more in Wyoming have scorched 12,500 more and two in Utah have burned 4100.
Each year, Missouri conservation department forest fire fighters are sent out to fight fires like those–or worse. State fire suppression director Ben Webster says the calls for assistance usually start coming in late June. But he says Missouri always keeps enough people here to deal with Missouri fires. And as dry as it’s been, he’s not surprised there already have been some small ones. He expects more are coming. Webster says the rain yesterday hasn’t helped much. Conditions have only slightly improved in some areas and not at all in southeast Missouri. He says a significant Fall fire season could start as early as late July if Missouri doesn’t get some rains soon.
He says the state has 150 to 175 field personnel who work year around to stay in the physical condition necessary to fight fires here as well as in the higher and drier areas of the west.