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Missouri State Fire Marshal addresses rash of controlled burn deaths

5:52 PM, Mar 23, 2010   |    comments
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KSDK -- The Missouri State Fire Marshal issued a warning Tuesday following a rash of deaths related to controlled burns.

There have been three deaths and one injury due to controlled burns that turned into hazardous wildland fires in Missouri.

One death occurred on February 27 in Broseley, another on March 3 in Lebanon and the last in Pilot Grove on March 9. One person was injured in Greenville on February 27.

State Fire Marshal Randy Cole said "We want the public to understand these types of fires can be very dangerous, can quickly flare up and spread or change direction."

Cole also said that fires often result in property damage, injury and as seen lately, even death. He also noted that property damage caused by open burning can result in criminal prosecution related to negligent or careless burning.

"The majority of these fires can be prevented if citizens use common sense and are mindful of weather conditions," Cole said. "Shifting breezes, warm temperatures and low humidity create the potential for real trouble."

The Office of the State Fire Marshal says that watching for weather conditions that cause a fire to burn out of control is the most important precaution to take when building a controlled fire. Local restrictions should also be taken into consideration before burnings. More specifically, the Office of the State Fire Marshall recommends the following safety measures:

• Keep fire a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings
• Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid to start the fire
• Do not leave a fire unattended
• Have fire extinguishment materials on hand, including a water supply, shovels and rakes
• Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up
• DO NOT a call for help - call the fire department immediately at the first sign of the fire getting out of control.



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