wildfires

via NASA

A new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council warns that smoke from wildfires poses health risks to people living far from the actual blaze.

The study used data from 2011, an especially bad year for wildfires in the US, to rank states with the greatest number of residents affected by wildfire smoke for longer than a week.

Illinois and Missouri were ranked second and fourth respectively, despite having no wildfires of their own.

(via Flickr/flattop341)

After some welcome rainfall, Mark Twain National Forest in south-central Missouri is no longer restricting open fires.

Forest officials say remnants of Hurricane Isaac dropped enough rain on the forest in the last week to at least temporarily ease fire dangers.

Acting Forest Supervisor Teresa Chase said Wednesday that the open fire restrictions implemented June 27 are no longer in effect.

Is it a day when Smokey Bear should be concerned? Check out this interactive map from the team at NPR.org.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s drought conditions have increased the threat of wildfires across the state.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) presided over a drought briefing today at the Missouri State Fair for emergency management and public safety workers.  He says the wildfire risk will stretch into fall, as drought conditions are now expected to last through November.

(via Flickr/My Blue Van)

Firefighters say it make take a week to fully contain another wildfire burning in the Mark Twain National Forest.

(via Flickr/flattop341)

Federal officials say two fires in southern Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest have been contained, but new ones have broken out.

The Forest Service said Tuesday that mop-up operations are under way at the 622-acre East End Fire near the Iron County town of Bixby. Arson is suspect in that blaze, which broke out last Thursday.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Nixon seeks permission to ease land restrictions during drought

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to allow farmers to graze cattle on land that's been taken out of crop production as part of a federal conservation effort.

Farmers in the state have about 1.4 million acres of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays them to plant other vegetation instead of cash crops like corn or soybeans. Livestock grazing is allowed on the land when there's a 40 percent shortage of hay and precipitation.

View Larger Map

Arson is the suspected cause of a fire that burned about 620 acres of the Mark Twain National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service said Monday that law enforcement is investigating. The blaze started Thursday morning in southeast Missouri's Iron County. 

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Fireworks cancelations climb as heat lingers

The list of communities canceling their fireworks displays this year is growing longer.

St. Louis County announced today that it's postponing Tuesday's concert and fireworks at Jefferson Barracks County Park in South County because officials could not secure a permit from Lemay.

(via Flickr/US Department of Agriculture)

Jacob McCleland contributed reporting for this story.

With the unofficial start of the summer season behind us, the Missouri Department of Conservation is urging campers not to transport firewood - in an effort to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer.

"Don't move firewood," said MDC forest entomologist Rob Lawrence. "It's not only the emerald ash borer that we're concerned about, and it's not just ash wood. There are a lot of pests that are not native to North America that have gotten carried in here, and they hitchhike on firewood."

(via Flickr/laffy4k)

Fireworks stands are open for business across Missouri as the Independence Day holiday weekend approaches.   

State Fire Marshal Randy Cole is advising the public that the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to let trained professional at public displays shoot them off.