Burns and Florence firefighters helped extinguish a massive grass fire that blackened more than 1,200 acres of native grassland Friday south of the county line.
The fire started at approximately 1:30 p.m. at North West 40th and Haverhill Road and spread to North West 80th Rd. about 12 miles southwest of Burns.
Burns fire Chief Barry Black estimated the blaze to have been almost a mile wide by three miles long. He said 32 Butler County fire units were there, along with five from Burns and two more from Florence.
“Our best guess is that it started in an oil field lease,” Black said. “We think a power line might have arced.”
He said there were no explosions, loss of oil, or equipment of any kind.
“The flames didn’t reach too high but the fire was rolling pretty quickly and the smoke made it hard to see at times,” Black said. “Someone said the wind was driving it about 20 to 28 mph out of the southwest.”
Fire departments lined up their trucks in a standard grassfire formation and sprayed the fire, but ultimately Mother Nature helped firefighters extinguish the blaze, he said.
“We fought it about five hours but there were some natural barriers and the lay of the ground out there helped us,” Black said. “A big draw stopped the head fire.”
He said he could not begin to estimate the amount of water they used on the blaze.
Black commended all the different departments for their cooperation and efforts extinguishing the fire.
Another grass fire broke out around 9:30 a.m. Monday about two and half miles north of the roundabout on US-77 between Marion and Lincolnville.
When rural Lincolnville resident Rowena Plett drove past the scene, firefighters had not yet arrived, but an orange truck was parked on the shoulder and a man was observing.
“There were little puffs of fire all along a stretch of ditch,” Plett said. “They weren’t that big, and they were all isolated from one another.”
Marion fire department responded first, but Lincolnville and Florence were called.
Marion Fire Chief Mike Regnier said the east wind blew the fire into native grass west of US-77. Flames scorched about 13 acres, but no other damages or injuries were reported.
Regnier said the cause of the fire was uncertain.