Tribune-Courier News Reporter
Sunday proved to be a busy day for firefighters in Marshall County as homeowners throughout the area attempted to catch up on yard work by clearing debris – a hazard, fire marshals agreed, as weather conditions were dry and windy throughout the weekend.
Calls for assistance began to 911 Dispatch before 7 a.m. Sunday and lasted into the evening.
Firefighters responded to more than four brush fires in the county, but one in particular on Darnell Road in Sharpe did extensive damage to a wooded property.
The fire injured no one, but an unoccupied trailer on the property was destroyed.
Possum Trot-Sharpe Fire Chief Rick Pershing said the property owner was putting hot coals in a burn barrel and some of the sparks caught the ground nearby on fire.
He said those sparks took off and carried a flame through the woods to the trailer where firefighters were able to finally stop it.
“When everything is dry like it is right now – on a day like this – sometimes we end up chasing fires all day long,” he said. “It’s a formula for disaster to burn anything on a windy and dry day like the days we’ve been having.”
The Possum Trot-Sharpe Fire Department was assisted by the Palma-Briensburg and West Marshall fire departments.
All together there were more than 20 firefighters working for two and half hours to put out the blaze.
The fire on Darnell Road wasn’t the only fire caused Sunday by homeowners eager to clean up their yards though.
According to West Fire Marshall Fire Chief Brian Andrus his unit responded to three other brush fires, which were started because of similar circumstances.
First the WMFD responded to a brush fire on Mayfield Highway at approximately 11:20 a.m., which burned almost three acres and caused moderate damage to a house.
That fire was contained within 30 minutes and extinguished within an hour.
The WMFD then responded to a fire on Oak Level/Elva Road, which consumed three acres and took firefighters 45 minutes to extinguish.
“Elevated winds and low humidity are dangerous conditions,” Andrus said. “We had 10 to 15 mph winds all day and the fires were moving fast enough that they could’ve become a lot more dangerous.”
Another fire on Mayfield Highway near Jackson School Road threatened a number of homes, but firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within 30 minutes with the assistance of the Pioneer Fire District and Benton Fire Department.
Andrus said, “People have to be cognizant of the weather conditions so everyone can stay safe. We may not be in a burn ban, but it’s still important to pay attention to what’s going on around us.”
The spring forest fire hazard season begins Feb. 15 and continues until April 30.
During fire seasons, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.