Published On: Wed, Oct 12th, 2011

Dry weather, wind combine for nasty fires

HARTINGTON — Dry weather, warm conditions, high winds  and unharvested crops combined for a dangerous situation last week.
Firemen from two states responded to a large field fire Oct. 5 in northwestern Cedar County that burned 960 acres.
Fire departments from Crofton, Bloomfield, Fordyce, Hartington, Wausa and Wynot in northeast Nebraska, as well as Yankton, Gayville, Lesterville, Tabor and Volin in South Dakota, along with area farmers with plows helped stop the fire.

Two of the Yankton firefighters received medical attention after a fire line turned and started towards them – they were later reported to be in good condition.
The blaze charred an area one mile long by 1.5 miles wide.
As the blaze moved under an irrigation system during the fire’s early stages the system was activated but it did little to stop the flames.
Firemen attempted to stop the fire on a gravel road but the gusts of wind were strong and the fire was moving fast.
The fire originated six miles southwest of Yankton near a farm at about 2:30 p.m., and spread quickly.
Rod and Ruth Goeden’s house was threatened by the rapidly moving fire.
Ruth was at home at the time but had been unaware of the fire. The kids were at school.
“My husband called me and told me and then a few minutes later my brother-in-law was pounding on my door,” Ruth said.
Ruth immediately left her home
The Goeden house was vacated at 3:15 p.m., and family members did not go back home until close to 7 p.m.
Their home did not receive any damage from the fire.
“We were glad to see the rain,” Ruth said after the rains came on Friday evening.
The fire spread into Lawrence and Mary Ann Zavadil’s pasture, which is at least a mile east of their home.
“We could see a lot of smoke. We watched it – we could see it as it jumped the road,” Ruth said. “The Cedar trees burned fast.”
The Zavadils were impressed with the response to the fire.
“Crofton has a well-trained fire department. It was good to have the cooperation of so many other fire departments,” Ruth said. “It was so windy and they did a fantastic job.”
The fire burned three to four acres of their pasture.
By nightfall most of the fire fighters left the area although the Crofton crews stayed on the scene longer to make sure the blaze remained extinguished. The Crofton crew was called back to the area several times for smoldering fires.
The Randolph Fire Dept responded to two fires the evening of Oct. 6.
The first call came in around 6:30 p.m. for afire in a field one mile east of Randolph.
A combine had started the fire, according to Fire Chief Paul Leiting.
“The irrigation system on the property was turned on, which helped extinguish the fire and prevent any damage being done to the system,” Leiting said.
Firemen were called to the second fire three miles west of town around 11:30 p.m. the same evening.
A fire that had been in a burn hole had started a field on fire.
“No crops were damaged by either fire. The crops had already been harvested,” Leiting said.
On the same day, a fire was also reported burning in a field east of the Newcastle-Vermillion bridge in Dixon County.
Several fires were called in to the Cedar County Dispatch Center earlier in the week.

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