Acting on a warning from the National Weather Service, the Cape Girardeau Fire Department has issued a no-burn order until further notice.
The department will deny permits for large fires, which are defined as piles larger than 5 feet wide, 5 feet deep by 5 feet high, but the no-burn order applies to fires of all sizes.
The restriction will last as long as weather conditions increase the risk of uncontrollable burning, said fire chief Rick Ennis.
A warning was issued to regional fire departments at 4 a.m. Thursday and expired at 6 p.m., said meteorologist Christine Wielgoss with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky. Wind conditions were around 15 miles per hour, with gusts up to 20 miles per hour. Additionally, dry ground conditions and low humidity increased the risk of uncontrollable fires.
Today, a cold front is expected to settle over the region from the north, Wielgoss said, which should lower the risk by increasing ground moisture and humidity. However, winds will likely be between 10 to 15 miles per hour with gusts between 20 to 25 miles per hour.
Anyone repeatedly in violation of the order will likely face misdemeanor charges for illegal burning, Ennis said.