Lights and Sirens

Fire Chiefs Hope Rain Will Lower Fire Risk

Northwest Iowa — It’s been a busy few days for firefighters in northwest Iowa. In addition to several calls for the Sheldon Fire Department, there were a number of other calls as well.

On Monday, May 7th, the Sibley Fire Department responded to two ditch fire calls. Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls says the first one was about 3:30 in the afternoon. He says a farmer was burning cattails in a ditch when the fire worked its way up between the ditch and the yard and started burning a round bale. He says they put that one out in about a half hour. That evening, about a quarter to nine, they were called to Highway 60 southbound, north of Sibley. He says again it was the ditch that was on fire. He said the flames were three or four feet tall, but it was only about a 50-yard by 30-yard area of the ditch, and they also quickly put that fire out. He says the cause is undetermined but could have been a lit cigarette or something thrown from a moving vehicle. Huls urges caution around ditch fires because the smoke can cause zero visibility for quite a stretch of road.

A tractor was destroyed in a fire near George on Sunday, May 6th. It happened at in the 4300 Block of 250th street between Larch and Lily avenues. That’s about four miles south and three east of George. The call went out shortly after 10 a.m. Fire Chief Bill Sprock reports that the tractor was fully engulfed when they got there. He says they used water and foam to put it out. He says the cause is undetermined but may have been electrical in nature. The tractor, which Sprock says was at least ten years old sustained between five an ten thousand dollars in damage, and he says it was totaled in the blaze.

The Ireton Fire Department responded to a call of a barn fire recently. It was at 4346 Fig Avenue. That’s about three miles north and two east of Ireton. Fire Chief Richard Steckelberg says they originally called for assistance from the Sioux Center Fire Department but called them off once they got to the fire. He says it was a fire in the barn roof and had been started by embers from a burn pile that became airborne on the wind. He says they were able to put it out in short order.

While the fire chiefs continue to urge caution with burning, smoking materials, and hot equipment, they are hopeful that the rains will green things up and lower the fire risk.

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