6 towns battle 16-mile-wide pasture blaze and other fires
4 departments respond to second blaze 3 days later
Multiple controlled pasture fires — including one that grew as large as 16 miles wide — raged out of control this past week as multiple fire departments were required on at least two occasions.
The largest fire, near where Marion, Chase, and Morris counties meet, required the combined efforts of six fire departments Thursday.
The fire threatened at least eight farmsteads. Burdick fire chief Glenn Carlson said flames got within 10 feet of several homes. Some farmers used pickup sprayers to help fight the fire and keep it from spreading to big round hay bales, although one old barn burned.
It began near the Marion-Chase county line southeast of Lincolnville when a pasture burn got out of control. Fed by strong southwesterly winds, it quickly spread to the northeast, eventually reaching almost to Diamond Springs, seven miles east of Burdick in Morris County.
A Marion County 911 dispatcher reported the fire to be six miles east of Lincolnville. Lincolnville and Lost Springs Fire Departments responded, as well as the Burdick Fire Department.
According to Carlson, the fire was 15 or 16 miles wide by the time it was controlled shortly before dark that evening. He said fire departments from Chase County, Delevan, and Wilsey fought the fire on the east side.
Water became a big issue as firefighters worked throughout the afternoon to contain the fire.
“Everybody was yelling, ‘Where’s the water truck?’” Carlson said.
He refilled his 350-gallon brush truck six times. Bigger tankers were filled at least five times from ponds and other sources. At one point, firefighters called for a tanker truck from Marion. A tanker truck from the old air base at Herington also responded.
Several firefighters were still feeling the effects of fighting the fire on Monday. They had bloodshot eyes and were fighting congestion from smoke they inhaled.
Lost Springs fire chief Brad Pagenkopf said Lost Springs firefighters got back to town at 9 p.m. Carlson said he got back home about 8 p.m., but he and his son, Andy, were called out two more times that evening to extinguish flare-ups near Burdick. He figured it was midnight or later before he got to bed.
“Fighting fire in the dark is interesting,” he said.
He was thankful that no one got hurt. He said he appreciated the help Burdick received from Lincolnville and Lost Springs and all those who volunteered to help.
Another large pasture fire struck Sunday northwest of Tampa near the intersection of 350th and Falcon Rds.
Tampa Fire Department was called to the scene at 3:48 p.m., and over the course of the afternoon and evening Durham, Ramona, Hillsboro, and Roxbury fire departments were called to assist.
Flare-ups rekindled the fire Monday, around the same time Marion County Commission considered modifying how the county issues burn bans. Tampa Fire Department responded to the flare-ups and quickly extinguished them.