Grass fires scorch area pastures

By Patty Locher
Sabetha Herald – March 19, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – March 24, 2014

sabetha fire 3242014b

sabetha fire 3242014c

Sabetha Fire Chief Jim Johnson reported that the Sabetha Fire Department had a busy day Saturday, March 15, because of controlled burns getting out of control.

At 1:11 p.m., the Sabetha Fire Department was called to the Curtis and Valerie Keim residence at 1024 S 12th Street in Sabetha, where what started as a controlled “back burn” had spread to a corn stubble field and then headed north, toward houses and buildings on the south edge of town.

The fire department was quick to extinguish the fire before it caused any damage to structures, Chief Johnson said, and the department was on scene until 2:14 p.m., with no damage done.

Then at 8:25 p.m., the Sabetha Fire Department was called to the Brad and Pam Wenger residence at 2274 216th Road north of Berwick.

What had started as a controlled-burn grass fire in a field south of 216th Road on a mildly windy afternoon became an uncontrolled fire after dark that evening after the wind picked up, driving the fire first northward across 216th Road and then back to the south into rough terrain south of the road.

The Sabetha Fire Department responded with all four of its units, and the Bern Fire Department assisted with five trucks and about a dozen firemen, Chief Johnson said.

According to Chief Johnson, Brad Wenger reported that about 10 acres north of the road and 20 acres south of the road burned. Fire damage included some burned hay bales, but no houses or outbuildings were damaged.

The fire departments were on the scene until 11:30 p.m.

According to burn patterns in the grass on Sunday afternoon, a tongue of the fire appears to have burned close to Wenger’s driveway at one point.

The fire left a swath of destruction about three tenths of a mile wide along both sides of 216th Road.

Trees and brush were still smoking and smoldering in the gullies south of the road early Sunday afternoon, March 16.

Chief Johnson appreciates the Bern Fire Department and individuals for their quick response and assistance.

Also on Saturday, at about 8 p.m., the Fairview Fire Department, assisted by the Morrill Fire Department, responded to an out-of-control fire, Chief Johnson said. The fire was located between 250th and 260th roads on Bittersweet Road.

Reportedly, an old, unused loafing shed received some damage, but other fire details were not available at The Herald’s press time.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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