ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Due to dry and windy weather conditions, Central County Fire & Rescue encouraged residents to avoid any outdoor burning. The department is prepared to respond to brush fires in the coming days and hopes residents heed the warnings.

“It’s like the trifecta,” said Deputy Chief Jason Meinershagen, of Central County Fire & Rescue. “All three things come together. We’ve got the drier air, these high winds, and just this recent dry spell where we haven’t had precipitation.”

Earlier this year, the department assisted the O’Fallon Fire Protection District with a house fire on Oak Bluff Drive. No one was injured, but the fire destroyed the home. Firefighters did not determine an immediate cause, but said once a few leaves caught fire, the flames took off on a day when weather conditions were arid.

“By the time I stood up to go in and call, it had just exploded all the way up the side of the house,” said Kathy Ferguson.

Ferguson lives behind the home that caught fire and was in her backyard that day.

“I kind of smelled something, and I kind of thought somebody is burning leaves or something like that,” she said.

Ferguson said she became more cautious after witnessing how fast the fire spread at a neighbor’s home.

“We are very careful with a barbecue grill,” she said.