The drought has spread across much of the country, creating extreme fire risks. But no place is more at risk than Missouri.
The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska rates Missouri’s fire risk as the highest in the nation. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the combination of hot wind, dry grass and extreme drought has already led to many fires.
In northern Missouri, a barn burned after hay got so hot it spontaneously combusted. Mike O’Connell of the Missouri Department of Public Safety says sparks from fireworks, farm equipment and mowers have all started fires. A cemetery caught on fire in Hannibal after someone tossed a cigarette or cigar from their car. And many fire departments say they’ve seen an increase in brush fires.