COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia and Boone County have experienced far fewer natural cover fires this year than last -- almost 100 less -- but fire officials say that doesn't mean the danger isn't there.
In fact, as the heat and dry weather conditions continue, the risk for brush fires increases.
Columbia Fire Marshal Brad Frazier says that igniting those fires is easier than people realize. He claims the main causes are common seasonal activities, including barbecuing, setting off fireworks or improperly disposing of smoking materials.
He also says two of the most common places for the brush fires to occur are yards or flower pots, especially when people use them to put out their cigarettes.
Frazier adds the biggest cause for concern are fires that are near buildings.
"The biggest danger is spreading to homes and then you have property loss or loss of life, so we want to make sure brush fire doesn't turn into house fires," said Frazier.
Frazier says people can put out small fires on their own, but any fire that quickly spreads or spreads to a building requires a call to 911.
"We want to also encourage people to call us even if they did put out their own fire because they won't be in trouble for accidentally starting a fire and then we can make sure it's properly put out and won't reignite," he said.
Of the 30 brush fires that happened this year, 25 were just in the last month.