Firefighters prepare after Red Flag Warning issued across St. Louis area

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Firefighters across the St. Louis area are bracing for a possible challenging Saturday. 

The National Weather Service has posted a Red Flag Warning, which means conditions are ripe for fires.

During a Red Flag Warning winds can carry embers from one fire to another location causing a fire to start at the new location in addition to the original.

David Spraul is the Deputy Chief at the Boles Fire Fire Protection District. Chief Spraul said, “It means it’s going to be a difficult day. There are going to be fires around the area. We actually put on additional staffing.” 

The Boles Fire Protection District covers 70 square miles in Franklin County, many of them rural. They use smaller trucks like this to fight what may start as a grass fire caused by discarded smoking material or a campfire not maintained. Chief Spraul added, “When the fire starts it’s looking for fuel to burn, if you remove the fuel the fire’s going to go out.” 

Their goal is to remove fuel where the fire is headed so they have rakes, chain saws and leaf blowers to get the dry leaves and grass clear of burning embers. 

Spraul said, “It’s going to be a long day.” 

Saturday winds are expected to be blowing strong, along with low humidity and dry vegetation. That combination to caused officials to issue a Red Flag Warning. 

St. Louis Firefighters had to battle two different warehouse fires Friday afternoon with winds fueling the flames. No one was hurt. The chief says investigators will determine if there’s a connection between the two fires. It’s possible homeless people trying to keep warm may be responsible, but the winds were the enemy whipping up the intensely hot fire keeping crews back. 

St. Louis Fire Department Chief Dennis Jenkerson said, “We had high heat conditions right off the bat and also a lot of wind that probably increased the flames.” 

Embers from one of the warehouse fires blew into a pallet yard touching off a small fire.

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