SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Firefighters across the Ozarks have their work cut out for them lately, and the American Red Cross is always right there with them.
But now, the agency that provides water and supplies to fire crews is in need of some relief itself.
"We have a disaster action team on call 24 hours a day," says Dawn Tomoson with the Red Cross. "On a forest fire, we send out emergency response vehicles to help the firefighters."
The Red Cross' southern Missouri region covers a 40-county area; with the growing numbers of fires, they need help, too.
Volunteer Bobby Cooper has responded to two fires already. He supplies food and water to crews. He's just waiting for the next call.
"When you pull up and it's real smoky, you just got to be able to tolerate the smoke and everything and just get out there and do what you can to help the firefighters."
The Red Cross has also been helping families whose homes were destroyed in recent fires. Since last week, 50 victims in the 40-county area needed assistance from the Red Cross.
As the drought continues, the agency prepares for more disasters, and need more volunteers.
"A lot of the rural counties, we don't have a lot of volunteers right now because there's not a lot of fires right now with the increase in fires," adds Tomoson. "We need those volunteers right now."
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Meanwhile, Mike O'Connell, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said Thursday that his department has tracked up to four significant brush fires a day throughout the state.
"It would be great if everybody can do what they can to be very careful with any type of fire or possible ignition source," he said.
The department is operating out of the state's 24-hour emergency operations center in Jefferson City to track the conditions.
"The state emergency operations center, the Division of Fire Safety, the Missouri Highway Patrol are all working together with their local and regional partners to track what all is going on," he said.
Earlier this week, Gov. Jay Nixon toured dry areas and met with agricultural stakeholders. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared much of the state a disaster area because of the extremely dry weather.