Last week we began talking about wildfires and the upcoming fall wildfire season. We looked at studies conducted in California as they go through yet another difficult and devastating wildfire season.

Last week we began talking about wildfires and the upcoming fall wildfire season. We looked at studies conducted in California as they go through yet another difficult and devastating wildfire season.

Can we here in the Midwest draw any correlation to what California is experiencing in trying to predict or plan for what we may see? We started by identifying two areas that we would need to look at to help us make determinations, Cause and Conditions. This week we will look more deeply into Conditions and how they play a factor in wildfires.

As a side note I wanted to clarify some terminology differences between fires out west and fires in Central Missouri. As we listen to the news we hear these fires referred to as “wildfires”, in our region the more common terms for these types of fires are either brush fires or natural cover fires. The biggest difference is that wildfires generally define large fires in forest type areas where brush or natural cover define smaller (in size) fires in brush and wooded areas.

So if defining and looking at Cause as we did last week turned out to be little if any help trying to predict this upcoming season, will looking at Conditions give us any useful information? Conditions can be broken into two different categories, past and present. When we talk about past Conditions we take into consideration rainfall, drought, and temperatures, and as we look at present Conditions we again have to look at rainfall but then also humidity and prevailing winds. After breaking these indicators into the two different categories, predicting the future potential can only be done by using the information from the past as again we can’t know the future.

If we look at our historic weather over the past 3-4 months you will see that Missouri experienced the second coolest April since 1895, the warmest May and the eighth warmest June. The overall average temperature for 2018 indicates the warmest on record. Missouri experienced the wettest February on record however April, May and June were all well below average for moisture. Looking at the drought monitor Camden County is listed as abnormally dry. Based on this basic information this area will need to see our average rainfall increase over the next couple of months while seeing our temperatures decrease if we hope to have a calm natural cover fire season.

The indicators right now have my office looking at what could be a busy fall for area Fire Districts and Firefighters.

As we go into the upcoming season please pay attention to Conditions and Restrictions on burning issued by your local Fire Districts. When the area issues no burning notices it is based on conditions at the present time and indicates these conditions make any type of burning dangerous. We can’t control conditions, past or present, what we can control are the Causes since the vast majority of these are us. For more information on burn permits contact your local Fire District.