Dry conditions create fire danger

Firefighters extinguish a house fire on State Street in East Carondelet on Friday. (Kermit Constantine photo)

Area fire departments responded to a flurry of calls Friday due to outdoor burning in less-than-ideal conditions.

Columbia Fire Department was called at 2 p.m. Friday to assist the Prairie du Pont, Dupo and Cahokia fire departments with extinguishing a structure fire at 1511 State Street in East Carondelet. Prairie du Pont requested CFD bring a tanker truck and pumper to provide additional water and power to fight the blaze.

CFD in turn requested Waterloo Fire Department to send a pumper to standby at the Columbia fire house.

Initial reports are that the fire started as a controlled burn that spread to a nearby structure. Prairie du Pont firefighters returned to that address early Saturday morning for a rekindle.

Low humidity combined with dry vegetation and wind gusts created dangerous heightened fire conditions Friday.

As temperatures climbed into the low 70s Friday afternoon, Monroe County EMA director Ryan Weber urged residents to use extreme caution, or preferably avoid entirely, burning as long as conditions persist.

Prairie du Rocher firefighters were dispatched about 1 p.m. Friday to a large brush fire resulting from a controlled burn that got out of control in the area of 2200 G Road.

Smoke could be seen in downtown Waterloo and as far south as Sparta during the afternoon, the result of a prescribed controlled burn off Bluff Road south of Fults being conducted at the Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve under the direction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Check back for updates as news continues to emerge due to the dangerous conditions.

Pictured, volunteers work at the site of a controlled burn on Bluff Road at the Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve, south of Fults. (Alan Dooley photo)
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