March 10, 2005

Springís Weeks Away, But Grass Fire Season Is Here

Spring is still a few weeks away according to the calendar, but this weekendís warmer weather produced the usual for the Scotland County Fire Department. The volunteer firemen responded to a pair of grass fires in the county as landowners took advantage of the temperatures to get out and work on their property.

The first fire occurred at approximately 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 4. The fire department was dispatched to the Gary Beemer residence northwest of Memphis. The remnants of a burnt brush pile were re-ignited by the high winds and quickly spread to the adjoining CRP field.

The high winds fueled the blaze that spread across the adjoining field and jumped a gravel road. Approximately 40 acres of grassland were burned before the fire could be brought under control. The firemen used two fire trucks to battle the perimeter of the blaze while others used portable water backpacks to extinguish the flames that had spread into the wooded ditch lines. The department utilized its gas powered leaf blower, made specifically for grassfires. The machine blows out the fire while forcing consumable grass and other debris away from the fire line, preventing it from re-igniting.

The fire department was on the scene for approximately two hours. More than a dozen firemen answered the call with four fire trucks at the scene.

The second grass fire occurred at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. The department was called to the Randy Ward residence northwest of Memphis. The departmentís two small pumper trucks quickly doused the blaze.

The Scotland County Fire Department went on standby for Schuyler County on Sunday evening as approximately 500 acres was burned by grass fires in the neighboring county to the west. High winds spread a controlled burn in the Greentop area, bringing out firemen from four local departments.

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