With daytime highs expected to remain in triple digits through Wednesday in Nodaway County before a predicted chance of thundershowers later in the week, the potential for wildfire across northwest Missouri continues to grow, according to Mark Nelson, the Missouri Department of Conservation's regional forestry director.
Nelson said pastures and woodlands in the area are so dry that virtually anything — a carelessly thrown cigarette, overheated farm machinery, a controlled burn, a mower blade striking a rock in a pasture and causing sparks — could easily turn into a conflagration.
"Things are not just dry, they are super dry," Nelson said. "The drought is deepening. We have a 90 percent chance of any ember lighting a wildfire."
Fire departments across the region have already responded to several grass fires along highway rights-of-way likely caused by careless smoking. Even grass and weeds that look green can burn in the current dry conditions, Nelson said.
And an increase in wind speeds forecast for this week won't help.