Rural firefighters scramble to keep blazes in check

By John Hawks
Ottawa Herald – March 21, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – March 31, 2017

Between landowners losing control of their controlled burns and rekindles from previous fires, all rural departments in Franklin County have been kept busy over the weekend and into Monday, Alan Radcliffe, Franklin County Emergency Management director, said.

“We’ve had 3 or 4 other calls today, too,” Radcliffe said Monday at the scene of a grass and timber fire in the 2000 block of Idaho Road, west of Ottawa. “Ohio, Cutler, (Lincoln-Ottawa-Harrison) and Potawotamie (fire departments) responded to those other fires.”

LOH responded at 4:23 p.m. to the scene of the Idaho Road fire, which saw 20 acres of grass and timber scorched.

“(This is) a rekindle from this morning,” Radcliffe said. “This is the second time today, it started creeping through the timber.”

A perfect storm of unfavorable conditions led to the most recent set of fires in the county, Radcliffe said.

“We let ’em burn on Saturday, had light winds, and just about every (fire) department in the county was out with controlled burns that got out of control,” he said. “And then we had a burn ban on Sunday, and had three or four rekindles.

“It’s that time of year to burn, but people need to understand, it’s dry.”

Burning was allowed in the county Monday, Radcliffe said.

“People just need to make sure they have enough equipment and personnel there to control their fire. It’s a lot drier than it has been in the past, and there is more fuel. Grass is a lot thicker this year to burn,” Radcliffe said. “It gets out of hand pretty quickly. People need to be careful, and it’d be nice if they could wait a week or so before they did their controlled burns, and maybe we could get some moisture and some green grass, to help slow the fires down.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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