With dry spring, fires begin

A pair of brush fires kept local firefighters busy Friday afternoon, during a time when the National Weather Service reported that dry conditions would increase the danger of such blazes.

One of the fires occurred near 220th Street and Rich Mill Road, just west of Fort Dodge.

The other broke out on a steep, wooded hillside behind 1460 N. 19th St.

No one was hurt in either blaze.

The fire near 220th Street and Rich Mill Road charred about an acre and a half of grass, according to Moorland Fire Chief Ken Thompson. Some tree stumps and a small amount of corn stubble in an adjacent field was also burned.

Thompson said the fire started as a controlled burn to remove weeds, but it spread after the wind increased.

“He was trying to burn it off to keep the weeds down,” Thompson said.

“Today wasn’t the day to do it,” he added.

The fire was reported at 1:13 p.m.

Moorland firefighters were on the scene for about an hour.

The fire on North 19th Street in Fort Dodge was reported at 2:22 p.m. It consumed leaves, brush and a fence. Fire Chief Kent Hulett said the fire extended about 50 feet down the hill.

Firefighters hooked a large diameter hose line to a hydrant at Floral Avenue and North 19th Street to get enough water to put out the flames.

Hulett said the fire was accidental. He said the owners of a nearby home reported dumping some fireplace ashes, which they believed to be cold, in that area.

Firefighters were at that scene for about an hour.

Another brush fire was reported Friday evening along Shiloh Road near the border of Hamilton and Webster counties. Firefighters from Stratford and Dayton responded. Further information on that fire wasn’t available later Friday night.

The National Weather Service declared that there was an elevated fire danger Friday afternoon because of very dry conditions and 15 mph winds.

The elevated fire danger notice was in effect for Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright counties.

Rain is in the forecast for today and Sunday. As of Friday night the National Weather Service had not issued an elevated fire danger advisory for today.