Despite recent rainshowers, the city is continuing the ban on burning until further notice, that according to Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey.
Mecey said the city won’t lift the burn ban until weather conditions significantly change in the area. Even though the region has received a small amount of rain, it’s not enough to change the drought conditions.
“We need at least a good 12 to 15 inches of rain to begin to make a difference. It could be a while before we get that kind of rain,” the chief said.
As of Friday when the National Weather Service updated the drought condition the Farmington and St. Francois County area were still in the D-3 range, meaning extremely dry. However, some areas south of St. Francois County are in D-4 drought conditions, which is considered exceptionally dry.
The drought index comes out each Friday and Mecey checks it. However, the rain is very sporadic and areas around Farmington could get rain while Farmington receives none.
According to the National Weather Service a drought is defined as “a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrologic imbalance in the affected area.”
Mecey said he wants to keep reminding residents to not burn now because of the dry grass and trees.
“Right now we are seeing the trees starting to die off. Some of the fires we are going to, the flames are getting up in the tops of the trees and we can’t do anything to stop it,” said Mecey.
According to the Missouri Department of Public Safety, the percentage of the state of Missouri experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions has jumped from 33 percent to 79 percent. The severe lack of rain, extremely hot temperatures and low relative humidity levels have heightened wildfire danger across Missouri. Several wildfires have each burned several hundred acres in Missouri during the course of this summer.
Suggestions include extinguishing cigarette butts completely before disposal. Do not toss cigarettes butts from motor vehicles, use caution with outdoor grilling and fire pits, and use caution when driving vehicles off-road. Several fires have started because of sparks from vehicles or equipment coming in contact with dry grass. A lawnmower blade hitting a rock can cause a spark, as can farm equipment.
The burn ban was first placed on the city on June 27.