March 9, 2006

Rain May Bring Relief For Fire Departments

Rain over the weekend may help slow down the recent rash of grass fires that has kept local fire departments busy in 2006.

Since the start of the year the Scotland County Fire Department has already responded to 13 natural-cover fires. The activity peaked Friday, March 2nd, with firemen being called into action on three separate occasions that afternoon.

The first blaze was reported at 11:57 a.m. at a farm north of Azen. The property owner was not a member of the fire corporation, meaning the department was only able to respond with the brush truck donated to the corporation by the Missouri Department of Conservation specifically for fighting natural-cover fires.

Four volunteer firemen spent approximately an hour extinguishing the fire that was initially started as a controlled burn before it got away from the property owner.

The fire department returned to duty at 3:23 p.m. when they were summoned to the Richard Dickerson property near Bible Grove. The property owner was burning trash when the flames spread to surrounding grass. Approximately three acres of ground were burned before the fire was brought under control.

At 4:49 p.m. the fire department was paged to the Cecil Snodgrass property southwest of Lake Show-Me where a fire had started along the county roadway and burned approximately an acre of grassland before it was stopped just short of a barn and other structures.

The evening before, the fire department had been forced to use backpacks and rakes to stop a natural cover fire at the Tim Slayton property north of Crawford. The fire burned through approximately 150 acres of timber before it was extinguished by firemen who were on the scene for nearly 90 minutes.

Despite the weather change, the fire department is asking property owners to take precautions when burning trash and to take note of the danger the dry conditions present when performing controlled burns.

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