Cape, Scott City issue no-burn orders; others to do same

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cape Girardeau fire chief Rick Ennis issued a citywide ban on outdoor burning late Wednesday. Cape Girardeau County commissioners are expected to order a similar ban today, according to Richard Knaup, Cape Girardeau County Emergency Management Agency director.

Even before a Wednesday tanker fire on County Road 220, east of Blomeyer, Mo., was put out by firefighters from Chaffee, Whitewater, Gordonville and Delta, Knaup polled fire chiefs throughout the county for opinions on dry weather conditions.

"It was unanimous," he said. "They felt due to the ground cover being so dry, it would be prudent."

The National Weather Service has recorded no rain since Saturday, while temperatures recorded at Cape Girardeau each day have exceeded 90 degrees.

Jackson fire chief Jason Mouser advised his city's administrators to issue a no-burn order and expects to make the ban official today.

"The conditions are right to cause a large amount of natural cover fires," he said.

Scott City issued a no-burn order Wednesday "until further notice," said Anita Smith, Scott City police and fire departments' communications officer.

All the bans will stay in effect until weather conditions change, which Knaup said would have to have to include a "good soaking rain."

The county order will bar agricultural and wooded lot fires, and cautions smokers from flinging lit cigarettes or cigars by the wayside.

"The grasses along highways are very dry and could easily ignite," Knaup said. Campers and hunters are being warned to "exercise extreme caution."

Mike Morgan, a battalion chief and fire marshal for the city of Cape Girardeau, said people who ignore the ban will be required to put out the fires or firefighters "will put it out for you." Repeat offenders will be ticketed; fines are determined by the judge, Morgan said.

335-6611, extension 127

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