Weekend weather conditions posed fire threat in the metro

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Most of Kansas and Missouri were under red flag warnings because of the windy, dry weather. And on Sunday when a small grass fire in one neighborhood turned into acres of flames, people saw just how dangerous the wind could really be.

Firefighters were busy all day, all thanks to the wind. Because of the conditions there were hundreds of fires in Kansas and Missouri just in a matter of 24 hours.

Battalion Chief Julie Harper says to most people wind doesn't seem like a huge threat, but when it comes to fires she says it can create a deadly situation.

“With winds like this if you have some dry areas that fire will move so fast,” said Chief Harper.

FOX 4 wanted to see for itself just how fast it would take the fire to start. With firefighters standing by, we threw a cigarette into grass, and it didn't take long to catch the grass on fire; less than 15 seconds.

Just a few minutes later, down the road in Kansas City, Missouri, FOX 4 saw the real consequences of the wind, but this time, it wasn't an experiment.

“When we arrived we had flames about 30 to 40 feet high,” said a KCFD firefighter.

A small fire started, and within minutes the wind had spread it across acres of land.

Edward Speed lives across the street from the field and thought someone was burning leaves until he saw flames coming toward his home.

“When I got home from church I saw a bunch of smoke,” said Speed. “The wind was pretty good. I was worried about it.”

The flames reached a nearby pickup truck, but luckily firefighters were able to stop it before it was about to reach homes that were just a few feet away.

“They're very lucky that we got in and got our hand lines stretched through the trees as fast as we could,” said a KCFD firefighter.

Firefighters hope their busy day, Sunday, will show all it takes is one flick of a cigarette to very quickly put lives in danger.

“Our actions have consequences. We always think, we see it on TV and it happened to someone else,” said Chief Harper.

The red flag warning expired on Sunday evening but come April some counties in both Missouri and Kansas will be under burn bans.

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