• Last modified 1191 days ago (March 18, 2021)


Firefighters look for break in fire season

Staff writer

These past few weeks have been the busiest Hillsboro fire chief Ben Steketee has seen in many years.

He didn’t want to count, but he estimates these past 12 days the department has been dispatched to 15 calls, most of them for grass fires helped along by dry conditions and strong winds.

“It’s an ebb and flow,” he said. “Sometimes it’s busy and sometimes it’s not.”

County firefighters battled 28 blazes these past two weeks, including a house fire that destroyed a home in Peabody and a blaze that consumed up to 7,000 acres.

The continued wildfire threat prompted county commissioners to issue a disaster declaration Monday for the county.

Some relief may be on its way soon.

A 98% chance of rain is forecast today, dampening a dry spell for an area where precipitation has been up to an inch below normal for February and early March.

Florence fire chief Mark Slater was not impressed by the promise of a decent rain.

“We’re just getting ready for burn season for the month of April where everyone starts burning pastures,” he said. “Hopefully we won’t have anything get out of control.”

Last modified March 18, 2021