March 26, 2009

Grassfires Across Region Signal Arrival of Spring

Plumes of smoke across northeast Missouri signaled the official start of the Spring season last week as warmer temperatures got people working outdoors. The spring cleaning by landowners generated four natural cover fires in Scotland County and as many as two dozen grass fires across the region according to area fire departments.

The worst of the four blazes in Scotland County actually jumped the gun, occurring March 19th, or two days before Spring officially arrived.

The Scotland County Fire Department was summoned to the Earl Martin residence southeast of Memphis off of Route D at 3:42 p.m.

A controlled burn of a CRP field had gotten out of control and engulfed a metal implement shed. The blaze ignited several hay bales in the building, ultimately destroying the building and its contents, including a John Deere combine, a John Deere tractor and other farm equipment.

Fire Chief Bryan Whitney stated that Martin suffered second degree burns while battling the fire and was treated at Scotland County Memorial Hospital.

The firemen extinguished the grassfire and insured that the blaze did not spread from the shed to adjoining buildings.

The Rutledge and Gorin fire departments combined forces on March 20th to extinguish a natural cover fire that had originated as controlled burn of a CRP field but had gotten away from the property owners.

On March 21st, the Scotland County Fire Department responded to a fire call at the Curvin Nolt property at the intersection of Routes B and C, south of Hitt. The property owner was burning an old outbuilding when the blaze spread to adjoining natural cover and ultimately consumed roughly eight acres of cover before being extinguished by the firemen.

That blaze occurred at 3:39 p.m. A second fire was reported at 4:30 p.m. at the Wayne Wheeler property on Route JJ near Kilwinning. A controlled burn of natural cover had gotten away from the property owner and had spread to an abandoned house that was consumed by the blaze.

Responding firemen extinguished the cover fire and protected the adjoining buildings for further spread of the blaze.

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