With rain clouds looming above, it appeared rain was inevitable Saturday and Sunday evenings.
As luck would have it those rain showers bypassed Warren County and, instead, gave neighboring counties a welcomed shower.
The lack of precipitation prompted officials to leave a countywide no-burn order to remain in effect.
The no-burn order has been in place since June 28 when county commissioners issued the notice following requests by fire chiefs from Warrenton, Wright City and Marthasville. The order prohibits county residents from open burning of any kind.
“Once it does rain, we will evaluate the situation at that point in time to see if we an lift it, even temporarily,” Warrenton Fire Chief Mike Owenby said about the no-burn order. “It will depend on the situation. We are so far behind now in rainfall, we’re just trying to be extra careful.”
Local fire departments said all of the recent calls they have responded to have been minor in nature. Some of those include grass fires in the median of Interstate 70 and small brush fires.
Fire officials are optimistic some relief is in sight. Temperatures this week dropped to the low 90s and there is rain in future forecasts.
“It will take a significant amount of rain to make up for what we are behind right now,” Owenby said. “The ground is so dry now that any rain we get will soak up and not last very long. We will be erring on the side of caution. We will take it one day at a time.”
In the meantime, Owenby urged local residents to continue following the no-burn order.
“Folks have been cooperating very well,” he said. “We have been lucky so far and we want to keep it that way. I really appreciate the community’s understanding with this. I know it’s not the most popular thing we’ve ever done. We just want to be safe and not have a big problem.”
Local law enforcement officials also said there were few issues with residents shooting fireworks, though Warrenton issued 15 summonses, according to Police Chief Greg Houdyshell.
Local police departments stepped up the enforcement of firework bans inside their jurisdictions, a move that was promoted by the hot and dry conditions.
“It was a pretty safe Fourth of July,” Houdyshell said. “We appreciate the people who did adhere to the fireworks ordinance.”
Wright City police Sgt. Matt Eskew said a few warnings were given, but no summonses were issued.
“It seems like everyone understood or knew the consequences of shooting off fireworks,” Eskew said.