January 2, pickup fire 29th rd. and ave F.
Grassland fire danger was in the moderate category when this call came in at around 8 am. Temps were around 18 degrees, wind was light out of the northwest. The fire scene was 5 miles south of my house. When I got on scene, I found the truck was off 29th rd. on a section line between two pastures. It was partially involved with fire with the grass around it also burning and spreading. The occupant was standing on 29th rd with a dog on a leash. I called on scene and took incident command. A neighbor drove up and suggested things looked funny and law enforcement needed to be summoned. I called in that a deputy needed to come to the scene. Sq. 340 with chief Mark and Shane arrived first. I detailed them to knock out the expanding grass fire first then work on the burning pickup. I had the truck owner and his dog get into my truck as they were very cold. At this time Sq. 330 and 350 arrived as well as Jeremy in his pickup. It took quite an effort from sq. 340 and 330 to knock out the fire in the truck due to the gas tank spilling gas on the ground. Law enforcement deputys arrived and talked to the truck owner. In the end, he refused a DUI breath test and also had warrents. After the guys cooled the truck down, I terminated the incident with dispatch and released the Squads. The fire started when the driver, who was impared, drove his truck down the right-a-way during the night. He dropped the front end of his truck off a 3 foot dropoff and was high centered. Due to the cold temps, he continued to run the truck motor to stay warm and the exhaust ignited the grass which spread through the truck.
Jeremy, Chief Mark, the sheriff's deputy and Shane(helmet behind truck) are inspecting the truck after the fire was put out.
January 21, grassfire, Shipton/Miller Rds.
Grassland fire danger was in the moderate category when the pager jolted me awake at 2 in the morning. When I called in to dispatch that I was responding, the temp gauge showed 12 degrees. Winds were light northwesterly. I heard Jeremy call in he was responding so he was ahead of me. At the first hill I drove over I could see a glow in the call scene area. As I neared the scene(6 miles from home)I began to think I needed to go to Brookville and get an extra truck. The fire appeared quite large, but at night fires look larger. Jeremy and Sq. 350 got on scene first so he ran one of their hoselines and went on the attack. Sq.340 arrived next, with two on board so I waited for Sq. 320 and climbed on board while Joe W. drove. We attacked the north portion of the west fire line. This area of the fire was covered with small trees interspaced with dead logs which made difficult maneuvering for Joe. By the time we finished up, the rest of the trucks were leaving the fire scene and my hands were feeling frozen. The fire burned 1/2 mile long and 200 yards wide. It started by the old burned out "haunted house", probably by people messing around and trying to stay warm.
I snapped this picture of the southwest fire line. Jeremy is on sq. 350 at the far end of the visible flames moving towards my position. They had already knocked out most of the east fireline .
I snapped this picture of the middle of the west fire line before climbing aboard sq. 320. Sq. 350 & 340 knocked this fire out shortly after I took the picture.
Feb. 20, grass fire from a lightning strike.
Grassland fire danger was in the very high category today. I was chasing storms in northern McPherson county when this call came in. The location was north of I-70 around mile marker 249. I headed north on 135 while listening to firefighters and squads calling in their response. It was raining during this time in the fire area. Chief 301 got on scene and called the fire almost out due to the rain and turned trucks back to the stations except the trucks on scene. About 1 acre burned.
February 25,semi fire, I-70 mile marker 244.
This call came in at 4 am. The call stated that the brakes were on fire. I ran out to the pickup, partially geared up and took off. I was about halfway to the scene when dispatch called semi fully involved!!! E-321 got on scene before I pulled up and parked off the side of the highway behind the burning semi/van. I jumped out, snapped a picture and finished gearing up. Sq. 350 had just pulled up so I pulled the booster line off and put out the grass that was on fire alongside the burning semi. It took a minute to do that then I pulled the hose back around the back of the van, up to the burning tractor. The top of the cab was already melted/burned off! Kody and another firefighter had packed up and were just starting an attack with inch&3/4 hose line off E-321. They focused on the tractor while I hosed the left side rear tires. Things got a lot brighter when they hit the fuel tank with their hose stream. The top of the fuel tank had melted off exposing burning diesel fuel. When the hose stream hit the fuel, it splashed it up in the air mixed with flames and it increased the flames three fold. We all backed off three steps and fogged the area. This improved things some. E-341 pulled up at this time with Shane and Rod on board. I gave 350's booster line back to Rex and pulled the front crosslay off 341. Shane charged the line and I worked the "firery" left fuel tank. Kody was on the "smoke" (left) side and we quickly knocked out the fire that was in the cab area. Rex had opened the back of the van (the top was already burned off), and had started to wet down the burning produce boxes. Rod and I donned air packs and crawled in the back of the van wetting down the area. Jeremy arrived with T-342 about the time my air pack ran low of air. We all moved trucks so law enforcement could open one lane of the highway which they did. Jeremy took my place in the back of the van since I was worn out some. I took T-342 back to Brookville, refilled it and parked it in it's bay and went home.
This is what the semi fire looked like from behind when I got on scene. E-321 headlight is showing from the front the tractor cab.
February 26, grass fire 2 miles north of Brookville.
Grassland fire index was in the "very high" category with red flag conditions along and north of I-70. Humidities were very low with northwest winds around 15 -20 mph. I was working some farm ground 2 miles west of my house when phone calls started to come in about smoke sighted north of Brookville. A row of hills blocked my view of the area. I first thought that the smoke belonged to a farmer who is notorius for burning piles of twine/brush in his yard. My fourth cell call was my cousin who called stating that "Jed's pasture was on fire". I said "dial 911, we've not been paged yet", and headed home. It still took several minutes before my pager toned for the fire. By then I was on the way to the scene. I arrived on scene the same time as Sq. 340 with Chief Mark driving. I jumped on and we attacked the north fire line. Incident command kept calling for more districts to help as the grass in the pasture was 3 ft. high in places with the fire spreading rapidly. Chief Mark and I made good work with the north fire line. District 3 had just installed a new foam unit on 340 around a week before. Having foam in the water stream helped fire knockdown as well as preventing "rekindles" behind us. We refilled water off of T-351 then went to the headfire area as incident command was conserned abbout the fire jumping Brownhill road. At that time Jeremy and Jed were making a stand on Brownhill Rd. with T-331 preventing the fire from jumping into the next pasture with cows and baby calves in it. Chief Mark, Paul M.(who climed aboard during refill) and I cut in on the fire in the Brownhill area and started working the fire line against the wind. We worked this till running out of water again. While refilling we noticed the wind had died as the sun was setting. At this time many fire trucks arrived from the surrounding districts and the fire was knocked out quickly. We drove the length of the north fire line, dousing hot spots. Command called the fire out and I went home. The fire started off of Brookville road, burned one mile in length, 1/4 mile wide. Cause undetermined. Later, Emergency Management e-mailed a picture from the NWS IR. satelite showing the fire north of Brookville showing up very well.
Jeremy took this picture of the head fire burning up to Brownhill Rd. Jed B. and Jeremy kept this fire from jumping the road when it burned up to them.
Silhouette picture of me and Paul M. standing on Sq. 340 as we prepare to attack a second head fire rolling towards Brownhill road. Picture taken by Carla B.
March 4, grass fire south of Watkins and House road.
The grassland fire danger was in the very high category overnight. The pager sounded around 1 am. I arrived on scene after Sq. 350. While they were cutting barbed wire to gain access to the fire, I geared up and climbed aboard. The fire was backburning in a half circle against a west wind when we started the attack. We knocked out most of the visible flames in a couple minutes. Other squads arrived and helped in mopping up. The focal point for this fire seemed to be a power pole. About 1 acre burned.
March 8, tractor fire, 29th road and ave G.
This call came in just before 7 pm. The scene was around 7 miles south of my house. I heard Jeremy respond on the radio along with many other district 3 firefighters. He was about a mile ahead of me but thought I was ahead of him. He called on scene, tractor fully involved with fire. I could see flames and a tall column of smoke from 2-3 miles away. I arrived on scene, pulled past the burning tractor and parked in the ditch. I gave dispatch a second size-up and took incident command. Rod, in Sq. 340 arrived and we pulled the booster line out while Jeremy pulled the speedlay hose out. They began an attack on the roaring fire while I sorted out who all was responding to the fire on the radio. District 3 had trucks coming from all four stations. I had hills in the way of the radio tower so radio traffic was sometimes broken. I turned back the Hedville trucks as they were the most distant and I wouldn't need them. Jeremy and Rod were having a difficult time with the fire as the fuel tank was pouring diesel fuel on the ground creating a river of flames! Rod called for the foam unit to be turned on and I fumbled with the controls in the dark while talking on the radio to Sq. 330 who was arriving. Justin and Joe pulled 330's speedlay out and began an attack. With 3 hose streams going the fire was knocked down quickly. Sq. 340 ran out of water at this time so Justin and Joe finished dousing the remaining flames. I called dispatch that the fire was under control at that time. Sq. 350 arrived as well as E-341. We continued to cool the tractor engine area as well as a tall hedge post. I then called dispatch that the fire was out, we stacked hoses and all went home. The rancher, (our neighbor) was pulling a haybuster wagon with 3 big round bales in it to feed his cattle. When he stopped on the road to open the gate to enter the pasture he saw flames in the back of the engine area. He called his close neighbor by C-phone and his neighbor brought 2 fire extinguishers. While waiting for his neighbor, he unhooked his wagon and was able to move the burning tractor a safe distance away. The neighbor arrived but the two extinguishers did not knock the fire completely out.
This is what the tractor looked like when I got on scene.
Rod is beginning an attack with Sq. 340's booster line. Jeremy is pulling the speedlay up just off picture.
March 10, Two calls, not much to do.
Yesterday the grassland fire danger was in the high category. Winds were around 13 mph but the humidity was 17%! Everybody seemed to burn yesterday as it was the first day without howling winds. Districts 2,6,5&7 had multiple calls of grassfires or controlled burns out of control! The big one of the day was south of Salina where District 2&6 battled a fire which closed highway 81 for a time. I was plowing teraces at sunset when Jeremy called about a fire call west of Brookville. My pager's battery had died with all the talking going on. I told Jeremy that I wouldn't respond as he said it was a small fire from a controlled burn next to highway 40. Then, at around 6 am. this morning we were paged back to the same area for a stump smoldering. I called Sq. 340 to call me if they needed help. They didn't.
March 27, controled burn out of control at Humbarger/Powers road.
Grassland fire danger was in the moderate category this day. Temps were in the high 70s and winds were out of the north under 10 mph. I had just finished a late dinner at 1 pm when this call came in. I called in to dispatch my response to the Brookville station as I was driving since I heard Brookville firefighters responding to other stations. David G. had the station doors open and trucks running when I arrived. We took trucks 340 & 342 to the fire scene. Most of the fire was knocked down when we arrived. Dave took 340 out to fight fire while I helped chief Abker refill empty squads from E-321. Dave and I were released to return to Brookville when the fire was out. Last Saturday, the 24th, district 3 had a double call while I was doing mission work at Reading, Kansas. Jeremy responded to this control burn out of control located a mile south of the call today.
May 18, wheat field fire, Lightville Rd & highway 40.
The weather this day was warm and windy and sunny. The call came in in the late afternoon/early evening. I responded to Brookville as Shane and Dave left the station with Sq. 340. I was thinking that the wheat would be too green to burn well but when I topped the hill east of home, I saw plenty of smoke in the fire area. The first units on scene called an active fire and asked me to bring T-342 which I did. I got on scene as Sqs. 340, 330 and 320 got the fire knocked down. We refilled 320's empty tank then moved to a burn pile that had started the wheat on fire. The strong wind had blown embers off the pile several feet to the wheat field and ignited it. We wetted down the burn pile and went back to the stations.
I'm at the top of the burn pile wetting down a smoldering log.
May 23, two calls in one day.
Grassland fire was in the high category today with winds howling above 45 mph. The first call was to the same Lightville address we went to last Friday, a small grass fire. Shane, Dave and I took 341 & 342 and dumped 2000 gallons on/in the smoldering burn pile. After that we returned to station. The second call came in about 3 hours later stateing unknown fire off State St. There was a scramble to respond due to the wind but it turned out that someone saw blowing dust and thought it was a fire. Yesterday, I was returning from Great Bend looking at a combine. I was retracing my route of April 14 tornado day northeast of Lyons when I saw smoke in the Geneseo area. When I approached highway 4, the smoke increased and did not look good. Courious, with friends farming in the area, I drove to the scene located just northeast of the highway 14/4 intersection. There was a large wheat field fire! I eventually got on a Kanopolis truck and sprayed out 3 tanks of water. The fire burned 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide. The wheat was half green but still burned well. It was really sad to see good yielding wheat burned. Before leaving, I saw our friend---his wheat parralelled the fire to the east and was not burned.
May 28, wheat field fire, mutual aid for district 7, Humbarger Rd.
We were paged to help district 7 Memorial Day noon. I went to Brookville and took T-342to the scene. The fire was out by the time I got there. Around 25 acres burned.
May 30, lightning induced fires on Armstrong Rd. and avenue J, Ellsworth county.
I was hauling wheat to the elevator when a storm moved in from the west. Lightning hit in Jed B. field where he was cutting his crop. A large fire developed for a while until fire trucks responded. While this was going on and most district 3 trucks were engaged, a second call came in south of our farm, of another lightning fire. I got home and responded with Jeremy as rain had curtailed wheat cutting. Jeremy went to Brookville to get the last truck in station while I went to the scene. Heavy rain took care of this fire before we got on scene. Some of our trucks returned to the Armstrong fire where there was not so much rain, but most returned to stations.
June 5, prarie hay pasture fire, Link rd. and Humbarger Rd.
We were on our way to cut wheat when this call came in. I called in that Jeremy and I would stand by if needed so we could start cutting wheat. Responders started calling that there was a lot of smoke in the area so we responded anyway. We went direct to the scene as 3 trucks left the stations with one on board. We got on scene and parked in the pasture. Jeremy got on Sq. 360 and I got on Sq. 350. Sqs. 330 & 320 were also there and we achieved a quick knockdown on the fire. A farmer was swathing native pasture when when a breakdown caused molten parts to ignite the mowen hay. About 4-6 acres burned.
June 19, calls as well as a wreck I-70 mile marker 241.
We've had some medical calls and one wreck located at the far east part of our district---so we didn't respond. Then there was a bale fire call just northeast of our farm. This call caught us in Lincoln county in our tractors so we didn't respond---it wasn't a big fire and was covered quickly. Then at around 11:30 at night we were paged to a head on collision at 238, I-70. Liz and I geared up and responded. As we called in our response, it was clear that there was some confusion on where the accident scene was. We found a disabled car at the 237 with flashers going which we thought might be the wreck. It was not the wreck. We then heard that our responders found the scene at the 241 marker. We got on scene and found a red compact car that was involved with two people and a dog still in it. Liz did an evaluation and called in a code. I took the wire cutters from Sq. 340 and cut the battery cable cutting power to the car. EMS and Salina rescue arrived did an evaluation and left. As the troopers and deputy's worked the scene the car driver got "shakey" and Liz became concerned. The EMS shift Lieutenant drove by and I flagged him down. Liz talked to him then he did an evaluation of the car driver and called back his medic unit. We helped with the boarding of the driver then conferred with IC. After that we cleared off the net and went home. The wreck occurred when a imbribed driver decided to go back to Salina to "sleep it off". He turned around and headed back the wrong way clipping the compact car in the drivers side front head on. Also, while some of our people was working the wreck on the other side, (slowing down oncoming traffic) a car did not slow down while approaching and had to take the ditch as the lanes narrowed to one lane. Very dangerous! There were trooper and deputy cars as well as one of our fire trucks up traffic with lights flashing and the driver did not slow down !
Picture of a deputy shooting pictures of the compact car. Liz has stepped out of his way for a clear picture. This wreck would have been much more serious had the two vehicles met head on.
June 25, one vehicle rollover at Crawford and Brookville Rds.
This call came in in the early evening. My pager "fuzzed" the call almost inaudible. I got home and got on the radio with Rod who I heard responding. He said there was a minor injury accident located not too far from home. I went to the scene because it was close and one never knows the details. Rod was on scene when I got there and I could see the three people involved were ok. Rod radioed in their status and we waited until EMS arrived. I left the scene when EMS left. The driver dropped her tire off the sholder then over corrected. She slid into the opposite ditch and rolled on the SUV's top. All were wearing seat belts.
June 29, 4 calls in one day.
Grassland fire danger was in the high category today. The first call came in around 10:20 at Stimmel and Brookville Rd. A truck and trailer combo must have had a heated tire or bearing. About 1/2 of a mile of ditch was burning. I went to the station to get 342 while Jeremy went to the scene. Green grass burned very well as this fire spread into a field that was no-tilled to milo. Two different piles of big round bales were threatened. Jeremy rode on Sq. 340 with Shane driving. They and 350 knocked the fire out of the field and saved the bales. I got on scene with 342 and Dave G. was my hoseman. We basically put out hot spots. 10 to 15 acres bburned. We just got home from that call when we were paged out to 249 I-70 for a car fire. This turned out to be a non fire. I didn't respond. The third call was a med heart attack call on our extreme northeast boundry. The fourth call came in at 8:47, a fire in a prarie hay field, Armstrong and Miller rd. This scene was 4 1/2 miles east of my house. I was first on scene so gave a sizeup and took incident command. This fire was small and the wind had almost died to calm conditions. Due to a rough field with a big draw between the fire and responders, I led the first arrivals (Sqd. 350 & 340 as well as Jeremy in his pickup} to the crossing point and they put out the fire quickly. I got information for the records and terminated the incident and went home. The fire started from a spark from a swather exhaust mos likely.
Jeremy's picture where the fire burned off from the ditch on Brookville rd. Milo was planted no-till into wheat stubble but the stubble burned well. Just off this picture was a stack of bales--maybe 200, the fire was stopped just short of the bales.
Darren, Jeremy and others are walking looking for hot spots after knocking out the prarie hay medow fire.
July 4th, fire--cracker--mageddon!
Grassland fire danger was in the "very high" category this day. Temps were in the 100 degree area with south winds at around 20 mph. During the afternoon, I listened while district 5 had a fireworks fire east of Salina that involved districts 7,1,2 and Assaria/Salina fire. Then some of those units helped Solomon fire with a large fire in Dickenson county. This all occurred in the afternoon. I knew that things would possibly get crazy at sundown so I joined Shane, Rod and Dave at the Brookville station around 7:30. We hung out, listening to Districts 1, 6, 5 and 7 respond to new firecracker started fires. Our first call was to Sundowner west court for a grass fire. Hedville trucks knocked this fire out before We arrived with Sq. 340 so we turned back to Brookville. We just got out of the truck when we were paged to Highway 40 and Hoenick Rd. for a stubble fire. Sq. 330 knocked this fire out as we arrived with two trucks. It's around 10 pm when we were called to Halstead Rd. just north of I-70 for grass and hay bales on fire near structures. We left Brookville with Sq. 340 and E-341. Before we got on scene (far northeast corner of our district) sq. 340 was turned back and 341 continued for water support. Shane then drove me to Bavaria to take T-331 to Halstead Rd. as the IC. needed more water for 10 smoldering bales. I got on scene, waited my turn then filled E-321 as they were wetting down scattered burning bales. Just as I went empty, a page to Ellsworth county, 27 and ave K for a grass fire came in. This call was what we at Brookville were worried about all evening, a potential large grass fire in open country between Ellsworth and Brookville. Halstead IC released myself and a couple of squads while Shane and Jeremy took 340 and 342 out of Brookville west, to the new call. I planned to stop in Brookville and refill 331 then go on west myself. I was going lights/sieron on highway 40 when a vehicle almost pulled into the side of my truck from Crawford st. They pulled up to the stop sign, stopped, and just started to pull out as passed by. Shane had his own "incident" with a driver not yielding in Ellsworth county. People just don't respect responding vehicles or they were really tanked this night. Shane called Ellsworth/Kanopolis for mutual aid at the ave K fire and they converged and knocked this fire out before I filled T-331. I took 331 to Bavaria and Jeremy brought me back to Brookville and I helped Shane refill 340 and went home at 3 am. What really saved us this night was that the wind died at sundown for a couple of hours then came back up after midnight. Most of our calles came in this calm time.
July 6, mutual aid to district 6, for a grass/tree fire 4700 west Shilling Rd..
Grassland fire was high category today. Temps were 102 with winds at 15-20 when this call came in. I listened as district 6 units approached, lots of smoke was seen. District 2 was called for help even though the scene butted up against our area. The first "6" truck on scene started to talk of structures threatened as well as rough terrain to get at the fire---he was waist deep in alligators. I called chief Abker and said "this is stupid, we have trucks 4 1/2 miles away and they are calling for trucks 12 miles away". Soon after this call district 6 chief called for 3 for grass trucks as well as tanker support. Jeremy and I were out the door and headed to Brookville station. We heard Shane, Rod and Dave leave with T-342. It was decided that Jeremy & Lane would take Sq. 340 and I would take E-341 as a tanker. I took a different route to the fire because I wanted to stage as close to the head of the fire instead of at the back of the fire where the other tankers were. This worked out well as I set up in a pasture by the Emergency management vehicle near the head of the fire. Soon I was filling 3 squads and one tanker truck before I ran out of water. At this time most of district 3 were released and I took 341 back to Brookville and refilled it's tank and went home. The fire was started by kids shooting fireworks that crossed the road and started the grass on fire. As I was driving home I called Wichita NWS and increased the curing factor for grass in our area. It's really getting nasty dry. There was one firefighter from I think district 2 who had heat problems and was taken to the hospital. This fire made the Wichita 6 pm news with pictures.
July 14, a fire trifecta. A big one in Horse Thief canyon, north side of Kanopolis resivor.
Grassland fire danger was in the high category this day. I was swathing hay in the afternoon when the first call came in, fire in the ditch at west Stimmel road. A controlled burn two days before burned along a creek up to the road, then followed the ditch almost up to a pasture. We wetted down the area and then I went home. I could see a small shower in the area of home and drove through some rain just east of my house. At the house I marveled that it could rain when I saw a lightning bolt hit the ground some where east of Jeremy's. Thinking of possible grass fire, I drove to that area looking for smoke. The thundershower intensified and produced a downpour in the area where the lightning bolt hit---there would be no fire. I put in some cattle that was out on the road and watched the storm move south still marveling on the rain that fell. I was just driving in the yard when we were paged to Ellsworth county 25 th and J for a fire started by lightning. Jeremy was at my place so he jumped in and we headed south. Halfway to the scene we drove back under the storm/rain and I thought the rain would take care of the fire. There was a good responce to this fire and I was talking about the rain we were experiencing when Smoky Hill Weapons fire came on the radio telling me he could see two smoke plumes west of the range. He said one plume was very big! We then drove out of the rain and looked southwest saw the BIG smoke. OUCH! Dispatch called that the fire was really in Horse Theif canyon where we've had big ffire before. Jeremy and I were driving down highway 141 still trying to see the second smoke that Smoky fire saw. We got on a hill adjacent to the Horse Thief fire when I looked east and saw the second smoke plume a few miles away. It was decided on the radio that we would go to the east fire and use trucks 320 and 360. Chief Abker would take the bigger Horse Thief fire to the west. We drove east 3 miles off of 141 pluss 3/4 mile through a rugged pasture before we got to the fire. The light rain had almost put it out, but there were many cow pies smoldering. Jeremy geared up while I backtracked to show the arriving trucks the way to the fire. Jeremy got on truck 360 with Dugan and they along with 320 and a couple of trucks from Marquette wetted down the area. I released the 4 trucks to go west as Chief Abker was calling for tons of help for his fire. I walked the perimeter of the burned pasture removing any remaining smoldering cow pies to the center of the burned area. I then cleared the incident with dispatch and drove to the huge fire to my west. I drove out to the edge of the fire and found T-342 working the east fire line. The terrain was so steep they could not get to a small portion of the fire in the bottom of the canyon. I took their rake and walked ddown and raked out about 50 yards of fire line. With evening temps in the mid to high 90s this was hot work. Finally, dozzens of trucks converged on the remaining accesable fire line and put it out. The only fire remaining was in some steep wood land along a creek---it was not going anywhere. I drove my pickup around to the staging area and picked up Jeremy and went home. we got home around 11:30 pm. Best I could tell, abbout 800 acres burned. The next afternoon, (Sunday) the wind increased and the fire started up again. Liz and I took E-341 for water support and I ended up sawing down several burning trees and wetting them down. About 60 acres burned this day and we got home around 6 pm. I hope the fire stays out!
July 28 & 29, a rash of calls.
The saga began around 8:30 am. I was leaving the farm to get several flat tires fixed when the call came in for a baler and meadow on fire, Powers and Lockard rds. Since I was headed generaly in the same direction I listened to the radio. Hedville/Glendale squads knocked the fire out quickly and turned everyone back to stationes. Jeremy said the baler and a couple of bales were a total loss. Later at around 2 pm., we were paged to mile marker 237, I-70 for a grass fire in the west bound ditch. I was getting into my pickup when Jeremy drove in on his bike. He jumped in and we headed for the fire. We got on scene the same time as Sqs. 350 and 360. The fire was burning off the highway right-a-way into a farmers hay meadow. Jeremy climbed on 350 in the farmers field while I got on 360 and attacked the fire in the highway ditch. Dave arrived with Sq. 340 so I got on with him and finished dousing the fire in the ditch. With the quick hits from the squads only about 2 acres burned. Just before midnight, thunderstorms with numerous intense lightning bolts moved in. Just after midnight the calls started coming in. First, highway 40 and cloud street---grassfire---rain put it out. Then highway 40 and 141, south of our house for a grass fire. Jeremy and I responded and got on scene when the call was terminated. Again, heavy rain was falling. We were on the way home when on of our squads found a row of hay bales on fire at 27th Rd. and ave K. We turned around and got on scene. Lightning had struck the end of a row of around 30 big round bales. Six bales were on fire at that time. We shoved two or three unburned bales out of the way to create a gap between the burning and unburned bales to keep the fire from spreading. Then we rolled the burning bales out so they could burn out and waited. About every 5 minutes we would stir the hay up so it could burn out faster. After doing this a couple hours we foamed the burning area and went home at 4 am. The last call was a doozy. Liz and I was working at church in Salina at 2:40 pm. My pager was broken so we relied on Liz's cell phone page app. Her phone "dinged" and she said there was a grass fire call to highway 40 and cloud street, the same area as last night. I wasn't too excited since the text had no elaberation. We walked out to the car and I turned on the radio. Talk was about a wheat stubble ffire burning towards structures. That got my attention. We headed toward the scene as I called in my responce. More radio talk came in that a train was involved. We got on scene and discovered piles of coal cars derailed with a fire burning away from this mess. I geared up and walked out to Sq. 340 and climbed on with Jace and Dave. We finished mopping up the stubble fire then moved to the coal cars where some ties were burning. We mopped up this area then went back to E-341 where Rod refilled us and we went home. There were around 15 to 25 cars derailed, mostly in the middle of the unit train. Some think that the relentless heat was the cause of the derailment---it was 106 today. I don't know. I'm sure the sparks emmitted from the pile up of cars and track started the grass in the right-of-way and the fire spread to the stubble field. Around 4 acres burned.
Jeremy is rolling out a smoldering bale so it can burn out.
Firefighters were spreading fire around the smoldering hay. This took a couple of hours before we could attempt to douse the area completely.
The squads were finishing up the stubble fire at the RR derailment when Liz and I got on scene.
With the stubble fire out, we mopped up around the large pile of coal cars where the fire origionated.
The fire is out. I'm directing squad 340 to E-341 for a refill of water.
We were purging some foam from the tank while refilling with water. Jeremy is walking up to inspect.
Picture looking at another small group of derailed cars. The front half of the intact train is ahead.
Picture of the big RR car pileup from the highway 40 side.
August 6, Mutual aid call with Ellsworth fire for a grass fire, highway 40 and 21st Rd.
Grassland fire danger was in the "very high" category today with temps around 99 and a south wind gusting to 20. Jeremy and I were working in Saline county when Jeremy spied a cloumn of smoke to the west. Minutes later we were paged. I went to Brookville but all trucks had left by then. Jeremy took his dogs home and we met at the fire. Jeremy and Lane rode on T-342 while I rode on Sq. 330. Most of the fire was knocked down by Ellsworth/Kanopolis by the time we got there so it was a mop up situation for district 3. About 60 acres burned as the fire was started by a passing coal train.
Jeremy and Lane are working smoldering RR ties as we were mopping up hot spots.
Look mom, 4 hands-two gloves. Jeremy and Lane after finishing mopping up. Shane was the driver of 342.
August 8, grass fire in Carnerio.
Jeremy and I were moving equipment home from Saline county in the evening when this call came in. It took us a bit to make it home and grab pickups to respond. Shane, in Sq. 340 got on scene and turned everyone around---Kanopolis fire units had knocked the small ffire out.
August 31, vehicle fire call at Ell-Saline high school.
I was watching the football game at Ell-Saline when my pager toned. I stepped out of the bleachers and listened to the text. The text stated a car possibly on fire near the school bus parking. I ran to my pickup while Dave G. ran to the parking lot. We saw nothing burning and found a lot of antifreeze under one pickup. I got on the radio and called in no fire and that was it, a good ending.
September 2, Labor Day festival at Brookville.
The firefighters from the Brookville station drove our trucks in the parade at noon. Some of the other stations brought fire trucks also. The temperature was around 100 with dew points in the mid 60s. Before the parade started, Liz helped a man who was overheated. Then, after the parade, we assisted a possible heart attack at the park. Later, Liz was called to the rodeo for an injury to a horse rider. While there, she helped with an over heat case also. I was not able to help her at the rodeo as I was stationed at city hall where a cooling area was set up.
Liz, Jeremy, Meghan and Eisley are in front of E-341 waiting for the parade to begin.
Sept. 21, multiple fires along the railroad.
Grassland fire was in the high category today. I was eating dinner when this call came in. Shane, Dave and Lane took 340 and 342 to the fire while I was driving in to Brookville. I took E-341 and set up by St. Francis where the largest fire was. Jeremy helped out on 360 out of Hedville. They worked a fire further east down the track. I refilled Sq. 330, then 342 and finally Sq. 340. After refilling the three trucks, I went back to Brookville and refilled 341. By then, all fires were out. The fires were started by a passing train most likely. RR right-a-ways as well as a wheat stubble field planted to soybeans were burned. Cloud street kept the fire from jumping and burning a larger area.
Trucks 330, 342 and 340 are finishing up knocking down the fire when I got on scene.
October 17, a close shave.
Grassland fire was in the extreme category today with red flag conditions. Winds were gusting to above 30 mph. This call came in just after 5 pm: electrical wiring on fire underneath a trailer home in Sundowner West. I got in my pickup and then drove part of a mile and picked up Jeremy who was coming in the tractor. I called in our response to the scene as we heard Shane respond with E-341 by himself. The call scene was less than a mile from the Hedville station and we were waiting for them to tell us what was happening. My fear was with a row of trailer homes, the wind would carry the fire from one trailer to another. At this time two trucks rolled out of the Hedville station. They called on scene and then there was an agonizing silence for a while. Then they called that the fire was under control, the rest of us could go home. The home owner discovered the wireing under his trailer was burning and used a garden hose to prevent fire from spreading. Hedville guys finished the fire off easily---a disaster prevented.--------I'm adding this on the next day for information purposes as well as a potential disaster day. The NWS has a grassland fire index product that they put out every day. I have an input into this figure. The range goes from low--medium--high--very high and extreme. Extreme starts with a value of 50 and goes up. October 18 value was 130!!! We had wind over 40 mph. and I have never seen a number this high before. Glad no fire occurred this day.
November 7, fire in the south ditch, I-70 mile marker 249.
Grassland fire danger was in the "high" category today. I was about to eat breakfast at 7 am. when this call came in---several grass fires in the area. While en-route dispatch stated deputy on scene said the fires streached for a mile long!! I got to the fire right behind sq. 350 and climbed aboard. We worked the west fires while sqds. 320 & 330 worked the center and eastern fires. Due to cool temps., high humidity (at 7 am.), with little wind, fire knockdown was easy. We all got the fire under control just before running out of water. We backtracked through the area, then refilled off of E-321 and went home. I was supprised how well the fire burned early in the morning. The cause was most likely a passing semi with a flat tire that over heated and spewed out molten rubber. I saw pieces of burning tire as we worked along the ditch.
I snapped this picture while several miles away of the smoke from the ditch fires.
Picture of sq.350 which I rode on, refilling with water after the fire was out.