The Beaufort/Leslie Fire Protection District has been busy this week, fighting four fires in as many days.
Two fires earlier this week likely were caused by a combination of dry leaves and hot equipment.
Fire Chief Terry Feth said the owner of a farm at 8591 Highway 185 in Leslie had used a lawn mower prior to the fire that caused a total loss of the barn Tuesday evening, Nov. 21.
“He had put it away and there was a buildup of leaves on the mower deck,” Feth explained. “The fire was in the area of the lawn mower and spread rapidly.”
The Beaufort/Leslie fire department was called to the farm just after 5 p.m.
Union and Sullivan both provided assistance at the two-alarm blaze. Crews were on the scene for about five hours, fighting the fire and making sure there were no hot spots that could reignite.
Feth said there was a silo near the barn, full of harvested beans.
“As far as we can tell, those were spared,” he said.
Crews were called to Liberty School Road Monday for a fire under similar circumstances. Feth said a trailer and small shed caught fire.
“It was unintentional, due to leaves in hot machinery,” he said.
The fire chief reminded people to clear dry debris from machinery and to let equipment cool before putting it away or storing it. The area around the machinery also should be clear of dry leaves or combustible items.
The final two fires this week were Thanksgiving Day, and located at the same address, Feth said.
Crews were called to 3854 Highway C just before 3 p.m. Thursday.
Chief Feth said a large garage caught fire when the homeowner was burning leaves in a pile behind the building and he lost control of the fire.
“Instead of calling 911 right away, he tried to fight it,” Feth said. “Everything was completely destroyed before he realized what was going on.”
Then, about eight to 10 acres behind the building caught fire. The first alarm was for the building and the second alarm was to get more manpower for the brush fire.
“We had to call in quite a few additional resources,” Feth said.
Union, Sullivan, Gerald/Rosebud, New Haven and Washington all assisted. Crews were on the scene for approximately 3 1/2 hours.
The homeowner had been using the garage to restore vehicles. Two cars, as well a large number of tools and mechanical supples were destroyed.
Feth urged people to wait to burn until there has been some rain.
“The vegetation is drying for the winter and it’s getting to an extreme point out there. The little rain we’ve had just makes the ground soft,” he said.
He also said people should use good common sense when burning and only do it near a water source and only burn as much as you can control at a time.
“A little garden hose can’t control a lot,” he said.
Feth thanked mutual aid for their support in helping fight the fires.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety has several recommendations to prevent the spread of fires started by burning brush and debris:
Check for local burn bans or restrictions before conducting any open burning;
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 extinguishing materials on hand, including a water supply, shovels and rakes;
Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up; and
Do not delay a call for help. Call the fire department immediately at the first sign of the fire getting out of control.