Picture taken looking up the road at the debris pitched out of the truck as it rolled downhill. It started to roll just this side of the sign post.
Feb. 16, controlled fire without permit at north Hedville Rd.
I was driving home from Salina around 7:45 pm. when this call came in. We had an inch of snow on the ground this morning but it had melted by late afternoon. A farmer set his tree piles on fire and when it got dark, it got noticed by passing law enforcement. Chief Abker arrived at the scene just before I did and it was determined the fire could not go any where so it was left to burn out without any effort by district 3. I sure wouldn't want to pay the ticket the farmer got for no burn permit!
Sat. March 7, the burning season gets going---as well as calls.
Grassland fire index was in the low "high" category this day. In the morning, district 7 and 5 had fires, controlled fires out of control. In the afternoon we had a call of grass on fire---maybe arson. Jeremy and I were rebuilding a corral when this call came in. We hurried and set up some temporary panels to keep cattle in. The fire was in the northeast corner of our district. Hedville units arrived on scene and said they could handle it just as we were ready to respond with our fence up. Later district 1 had a fire in their area. Around 8 pm. we were paged again to a fire burning after dark at Reese and Magnolia Rds. I responded to the Brookville station and stood by as Chief 301 arrived and sorted things out. The farmer had a good permit and started his burn around 4 pm. but the wind quit so at 8 the fire was still burning. Chief 301 checked it all out and proclaimed all was good so we all went back home.
March 9, out of control burn at Watkins and Muir Rds.
Grassland fire index was in the low "high" category today with temps around 65 and wind out of the northeast at 10. I was working on a post digger on the Saline co. line at 11ish am. when this call came in. I drove to Brookville and took T-342 to the fire. Tate, Dave and Lane had already left with Sq. 340. Jeremy stopped at Glendale and took Sq. 350. Jeremy and I got on scene at the same time so I parked T-342 for water supply and drove 350 with Jeremy on the hose. Sqds. 320, 360 and 340 had a pretty good knockdown as we went into action. The fire had burned into a tree lined draw and it was mostly a mop up/overhaul situation after that. Jeremy had his go pro camera going so watch our actions on http://youtu.be/AcBUsWNiS4s .
March 10, controlled burn, burning into RR right-a-way.
Grassland fire index was in the low "high" category. Late in the afternoon we were paged to this fire. I headed for the Brookville station but was called off as the Hedville guys said they could handle it.
March 11, FIRE MEGEDDON!
Grassland fire was in the "high" category today. Temps were in the upper 70s and wind northeast at 8 mph. Every one was burning today and still loosing control of their burns. Every Saline Co. districts (1,2,3, 5,6 and 7) had fire calls with district 5 having 3 out of control calls. We at district 3 had two today. The first was around 11:30 am. at Shipton and Armstrong Rds. District 7 was paged first, (mistakenly but they came) then us as it was realized it was our fire. I could not respond as I was doing some business for my ailing sister. Jeremy had his kids and bus responsibilities so couldn't respond either. It took district 7 and us about an hour to get the fire out. About 160 acres burned. The second call came around 6 pm. The page was garbled somewhat as other districts were still talking about their fires. There was a grass fire near a mobile home in Sundowner trailer park. I was on my way to Brookville station when the Hedville guys and gals made a quick hit and knocked it out. Later, I heard about large fires south of Kanopolis lake, out of our area. The last couple of days, I've had conversations with Wichita NWS about their indexes. The forecasters couldn't figure why everybody was loosing control of their fires. I told them that maybe it was because we have such a big fuel load and it gets too hot to keep in control. I suggested that they fudge their index a bit higher due to fuel load in our area. Already Ellsworth. Lincoln and Russell counties have burn bans. Tomorrow, Saline Co. E-management will not allow burning as the wind will pick up and gust, (very high grassland index). We'll see how it all plays out as gusty winds may blow sparks from todays burns and we will really have a fire. We'll see.
March 16, Red Flag a-waving.
Grassland fire index was in the mid 80s (extreme) today with Red Flag warnings for almost all of Kansas. Around 1:30ish we had a call to Rolling Hills Zoo fire pit which was spreading fire around it. Temps were in the mid 80s and winds southwest at 25 mph with humidity's around 15%. Hedville units got there and said it was a two squad fire and turned the rest of us around. Later, around 3ish, a person with no brains started his brush pile on fire next to a pasture. This was east of Brookville. Two of our fire fighters saw and smelled the smoke and investigated. They told said brain fart that they were calling for our fire district. He said no he'd put it out and they stood there and watched till all was out. This could have been very bad and big but got nipped in the bud. Close call.
March 20, grass fire west of highway 141 and old highway 40.
Grassland fire index was in the lower "high" category today. Temps were in the mid 70s with a west-southwest wind around 10. I was in Lincoln county shearing trees when I looked south and saw a rising plume of smoke. Knowing that Ellsworth Co. had a burn ban, I knew we were going to get a call. I gathered my hired boys and called Jeremy to alert him. At that time (around 4:30), the pager went off. I hurried home and jumped in with Jeremy who was waiting and we took off. We got on scene the same time as Sq. 330 so Jeremy rode as a hose man. Kanopolis trucks were arriving at this time too. I declared incident command to dispatch and the first big priority was the head fire roaring out of some trees next to highway 40. A couple of Kanop. trucks along with Sq. 330 tried to keep the fire from jumping highway 40. I used my pickup as a wind break, trying to aid the fire trucks. Some how, the fire didn't jump, but a second head fire jumped the gravel road to the east but a fire truck was there and knocked it down. Now the job was to mop up the flanks of the fire which was hard to do with many fences and trees to maneuver around. More trucks came from Ellsworth and district three and after a while the fire was knocked down. I did a face to face with Bob, the chief of Ellsworth and planned strategy. Also, in the middle of this, I had Law enforcement shut down highway 40 due to smoke and trucks on the highway fighting fire. The Kanopolis guys wanted to make a backfire to extend the "black" around the burning trees/logs. I was luke-warm to this idea until they decided to back burn the south ditch and not to let the fire burn into any standing trees. This was accomplished, although they burned south further than I would have liked and the south burn got into the trees. I had them really soak the trees. We started to let convoys of blocked cars go through with Roger S. acting as a pilot pickup. He was very helpful. I released Ellsworth trucks then Kanopolis trucks. I got info. from the land owner and terminated the incident and released Law enforcement and we went back to the station. After filling out some paperwork, we were re-paged back to the area as a passing motorist saw a log burning in the black. Sq. 340 cut that log up and doused it with their booster line. I called the National Weather office about expected winds and terminated the incident the second time. I then called Ellsworth Sherriff dispatch to tell them there were many burning logs but were well into the black when they get the next call from a motorist. It's 11:15 pm. and so far no calls so maybe we'll sleep tonight. Jeremy got great video of the head fire stand with his go-pro. I'll post a link to his view when he gets it up. The fire started when a guy in a skid-steer rotary saw was cutting trees and hit a steel post. Around 12 acres burned. Go to you tube then search for jrockyhill that is Jeremy's account. In it will be the fire at highway 40 in sq. 330. Or do a general search for squad 330 at old 40 highway.
Jeremy's still picture out of his go-pro camera of the attempt to keep the head fire from jumping highway 40. This is where we rural firefighters look the fire devil right in the eye.
A second picture from Jeremy showing the Kanopolis truck diving into the ditch to get closer to the fire. We think that they may have had hose/pump pressure issues is why they did this. Really looking the fire in the eye. They immediately bailed out because of the flames and heat.
A still capture off of my pickup go-pro of the raging head fire and the Kanopolis truck bailing.
March 21, two calls---same place.
Grassland fire index was in the High category with temps in the upper 70s and winds variable but mostly southerly. At around 11:30 am. I was driving in to granddaughter's 3rd birthday party in Salina. On State St. just west of Link Rd. people were burning a pasture as I passed. I could see trouble as their mowed perimeter was just two mower widths with a house just on the other side. At the party, just after noon, the pager toned confirmation of the trouble. I got on Sq. 340 and traveled to the west side where the house was. There was a black column of smoke in that area. We came over the top of a hill and saw the smoke was from a trash pile near the house---the house was spared. We worked mostly in a creek area moving burning trees. We wrapped up by clearing the perimeter on the east fire line then went home. A couple of hours later, while I was working with a baby calf we were toned out for a relight. Some how the east fire line re-started and threatened the house to the north. There was a scramble and the fire was knocked down just short of the house. After that I worked with T-342 mopping up tree piles near the unburned areas. We went home just before sunset.
Black column of smoke from the house area as we were traversing to the west fire line.
Picture of a large dust/soot devil I saw while we were mopping up the east fire line of the first fire.
Picture of a boat on its trailer on the west fire line. The fire burned through the boat but did not ignite it!
Picture on the west fire line of the first fire. A close miss for the house and camper. The second fire burned just as close to a house on the east fire line.
March 25, grass fire in Lincoln Co. I-70 228 mile marker.
Grassland fire index was in the high category I think. I was watching the severe weather developing in Oklahoma on my computer when chief Abker called. He said that Lincoln Co. fire was responding to a grass fire in the southern area and asked if I saw any smoke. I took my pickup into Lincoln county and couldn't see any smoke due to low clouds and very windy weather. It also began to spit rain some. I called Chief back stating nothing seen when he said the fire was on I-70. I turned west and got on top of the hills and saw smoke. I worked around to the south side of 70, south of the fire and saw many arriving fire trucks so that was good. The fire burned over a hill and down into a steep canyon where the wind was cut off. Here the fire trucks with the help of a light rain knocked out the fire and district 3 was not needed to help. I passed this info to Chief Abker and went home.
Picture capture off of my go pro of the fire burning down into the canyon with the Lincoln trucks slowly knocking the fire out due to STEEP terrain.
March 29, hay bales on trailer on fire, N. Brownhill Rd.
Grassland fire index was in the low extreme with red flags a flying. Temps. were in the 70s with winds north at 25 mph. I was changing clothes after church when this call came in. The call was that a horse trailer was on fire. As I left home, I discovered that my truck radio was not sending, just receiving. I used my hand-held to call to dispatch that I was responding. As I closed, I could see grass smoke, a lot of smoke that shouldn't come from a cow trailer. I found that there was a flat-bed trailer with about 8 big round prairie hay bales, fully involved. Also the ditch had fire spreading down it and was moving into a farm yard. I called this all in and took incident command although my hand-held was skipping transmissions at times. I detailed Sq. 350, 320 and 360 to knock down the grass fire on the farm stead and they rapidly stopped that threat. Jeremy arrived in his pickup at this time also. He worked with Sq. 350, then with 342 when it arrived. Once the grassfire was taken care of attention turned to the burning bales on the trailer. We got a loader tractor and a skid loader to drag the burning trailer into a wheat field then unloaded the burning hay off the trailer. Then it was a wait while the hay burned up. I needed to get some cattle from Rice county so I transferred command to Rob, snapped pictures and left. We were not sure what ignited the hay bales and started this messy fire.
Picture looking down the road where the burning trailer was beyond the fire trucks.
Picture looking where the grass fire burned into the farm-stead and the wheat field where we unloaded and spread the burning bales.
Picture of the trailer after we got the hay off of it.
The hay is spread out. Now is the time to wet it down.
April 15, garage fire at the 4000 block of State St.
It was just before 11 am. when this call came in, a detached garage on fire. I drove home and responded to Brookville. I expected Dave would come right down from the high school and take E-341 but he was in Salina getting school supplies. I got to Brookville and geared up. Lane and Dave arrived at this time. We took E341 and T-342 to the fire. Enroute, Command stated the building was already down so it was a mop up situation. We arrived on scene and helped with overhaul. Jeremy arrived around this time and helped also. There was no cars or trucks in the garage, just a lawn mower and a four wheeler making an easier overhaul. When the area was wetted down we went bact to the station and went home.
Picture taken by Tom Dorsey of the Salina Journal of Kody wetting down the remains of the garage. Kody, in addition to being a good fire fighter for us at District 3, is an excellent storm chaser and helps me cover storms in Kansas.
April 28, grass fire, south ditch I-70 mile marker 236.
I was cutting cedar trees in Lincoln county when this call came in around 5:15 pm. Winds were out of the north at 15 mph. I called Jeremy by cell and he said he was about there. The scene was 4 miles from my house. He found a couple of spot fires that were burning slowly in the greening grass. Sqs. 350, 340 320 and 360 responded to this call and the fire was put out quickly.
Jeremy's picture after the fires were put out. Green grass and a wheat field kept the fires small.
May 17, lawn mower accident, Bavaria.
Liz and I were heading home after Sunday church when this call came in. The page was kind of hard for us to hear and stated that either a 3 yr. old or a 43 year old was run over by a lawn mower. We were around 6 miles from Bavaria when the call came in so Liz called in our response. So many questions before we arrived. Was the mower blades involved? An adult or kid? Where were the injuries? We pulled up to the house and got out. Immediately, we saw that it was a child that was involved---Liz called that in before she examine the child. I went ahead and geared up and walked up with my radio. I knew that EMS would be 3-5 miles behind us (3-5 minutes away) and I like to get a sit rep (code) out. (Lots of times our district members arrive first but say nothing, instead choosing to help than get the word out) Liz gave me her code and I relayed it to dispatch. The people were Hispanic and were excited (talking fast, concerned) so I had a hard time understanding the facts. A family member walked up and wanted to see the wound. As the man who was holding the child lifted the towel the leg looked bad to me. Salina EMS arrived and I saw Adam and Chris and Corey get out and walk up to the child. I told them that the child was probably worse than the code I gave them earlier. (Chris and Adam are on our rural fire district while Cory hunts with us and helps work cattle). They wasted little time securing the child on the gurney, loaded and took off to Salina. I called Cory in the evening and he said the child went to surgery to stitch up their legs and would probably be all right. All in all, a very scary scene.
June 7, Small grassfire along highway 40 just into Ellsworth county.
I was changing clothes from church in the afternoon when this call came in. The scene was straight south of my house so I called in that I would go direct. On the way, dispatch stated they had two possible areas where the fire was--- Ellsworth county line or 40 and 141. Just as I was pulling up to highway 40, Chris R. called in no fire at 141 so I turned for the county line area. I found a couple of passer-bys stopped at the scene and had put the fire out. Chris pulled up then and I called the fire out all could return to station. A fifteen by 6 foot area burned along the highway, cause unknown.
June 17, diesel fuel leak at 238 exit I-70>
I was heading home from Salina on a "parts run" when this call came in. A semi had hid an object and had stopped and found the fuel leaking. I got on scene just after Dave in Sq. 340. We found that the leak was small and being caught in a bucket. I crawled under and turned off the connecting fuel tank then returned with a stick and screwdriver. I was able to slow the flow somewhat (the crack was along a seam on the fuel tank making a non-direct hole) with the stick. Salina fire arrived with a leak pool which replaced the filled bucket of fuel. Dave and I were released thereafter while law enforcement waited for the truck company response team to show up with a fix.
July 23, two calls at the same time.
I was just leaving home in the feeding truck when the pager vibrates. The page was for a grass fire near Miller and Watkins roads. This address was not too far away so I jumped into my other pickup and called in my response. Dispatch didn't acknowledge my call and a page tone started again. I thought it was the second part to the Watkins page but the dispatcher said a vehicle rolled on I-70 mile 245 and was on fire. Two pages back to back. I continued on to the grass fire and listened to our district's response. I got on scene first seeing several brush piles burning in a pasture. I checked in with dispatch about a controlled burn in that area and declared incident command. Dispatch stated that it was a controlled burn that was now out of control. I drove into the pasture up where the land owner was fighting a grass fire with a ATV/20 gallon sprayer. Sq. 350 and 320 and Jeremy arrived at this time. I detailed them to put out the rest of the small grass fire while I started to inspect the 5 or so burning brush piles. The land owner, (an older city guy) just lit the piles thinking that the green grass surrounding would hold the fire. When the grass started to burn down range of the wind, his sprayer wouldn't prime for a while so he called 911. I then had the two squads wet down the perimeter of each brush pile then told the land owner to shove all burning brush to the middle of the black with his tractor/loader. I then got some information for the incident record, terminated the incident with dispatch, and we all left and went home. About 1/2 acre of grass burned and the land owner must have done good because we were not paged there again which was a surprise to me.
August 13, two calls in one day.
The weather was normal today with high in the upper 80s and dews in the 59 area with south winds at 10. The first call came in around 3:15 or so stating a baler and hay meadow on fire at old 40 highway and Wyman rd.. I called in my response and headed to Brookville. I heard 342 and 341 leave the station then saw a large plume of smoke east of Brookville. I took Sq. 340 to the scene but had no hose man. I pulled the booster line through the window and mopped up behind 342 on the west fire line. There was lots of smoke from the burning green grass and I had to back up several times due to 0 viz in a smoke gray out. I methodically attacked the fire as 342 raced ahead to stop the head fire burning into the next pasture, preventing a bigger fire fight on our part. One of the Hedville squads joined up with me and we knocked out the fire up to 342. After this, it was a mop up situation then we spread out burning bales so they could burn up quicker. After that I refilled the water tank at the hydrant in Brookville and parked 340 in station. About 10 acres burned with 6 big bales lost as well as hay rows that were not baled yet. I was really surprised how well the green grass burned creating heavy smoke that made it hard to see where the fire was. Later, around dark (8:40) we were called to mile marker 239, I-70, for a fire in the medium. I was baling hay a couple miles south of home in a pasture so didn't respond as many trucks responded and found only a couple of little fires which were put out quickly.
Picture of me and Kody T. spreading out a burning bale so we could let it burn out. Picture taken by Dugan F. cell phone.
August 20, grass fire at 30th Rd. and ave. D in Ellsworth county.
The day was warm and windy with temps in the upper 80s and winds southwest at 15 to 20 mph. I was in Salina when our neighbor called and said his fencing crew had started a fire in the southwest corner of Grandma's pasture. I told him to call 911 so we would be paged out and headed out of town. I called Jeremy as it was 3:25ish and he would be starting his bus route. He claimed to see good smoke from that area. I was concerned that the fire would burn into the middle of the pasture where the grass was taller making a more difficult fire to control. As I drove to Brookville station I listened to responders---a slower response than usual with only one person on board in most cases. I then called my cousin and found he driving in our home area and asked him to go to the fire to help. I took T-342 from Brookville and got to the fire the same time my cousin did. He had my cousin who was a retired firefighter with us so I had him drive while Brent and I manned the hoses. Jeremy got a replacement bus driver and took our tractor and disc to the bottom of the hill and damped the head fire which was good. The fire was mostly burning on a large hill covered with huge rocks. Many times we unrolled 200 ft. of booster line to get to the fire but finally achieved control. While this was happening, 4 miles away another out of control fire was found from a controlled burn. This stretched us thin but we got the jobs done. Back at the station where we refilled trucks Jeremy called and stated that the hill fire had rekindled in the still strong wind. Shane and I took 342 back to the fire and knocked this small fire down and that was it. Around 12 acres burned.
Picture looking east of the west half of the burned hill. The fire started on the right side of the picture and the wind carried it over the crest of the hill to the lee-ward side where the wind was not as strong which saved us from a much larger fire.
A zoomed in picture of the burned hill showing the rocks and boulders we had to traverse when attacking the fire.
Jeremy's picture of squad 350 and 342 working up the north side of the hill to put out fire from Jeremy's fire break he disced.
Picture of my tractor/disc Jeremy used to stop/slow the head fire.
August 30, Semi van fire and multiple grass fires, I-70 mile marker 241.
We had gotten home from church after 2:30 when this call came in. I geared up and jumped in the pickup and called in my response. Jeremy called by cell and said he was coming behind me. Even when I was several miles away, I could see lots of smoke from the fire area. As I drove onto I-70, I decided to go to the burning trailer and help out there. En route I started to pass multiple spot grass fires both in the medium and the south ditch. This continued for a mile until I arrived at the burning trailer. I parked a ways behind the trailer and saw the rear end was fully involved. Sheldon was attacking the fire on the ditch side with an 11/2" hose off of e-321. I ran and backed him and we continued the fight. A sheriff deputy came and said the trailer cargo was aluminum shavings so not real combustable. The rear tires plus the floor and sides of the trailer were burning so hot that we were making little headway knocking down the fire. Dave drove E-341 up so I ran to him and dragged the front cross-lay off and Dave charged my line. I attacked the other side of the trailer from Sheldon and together we made headway knocking down the fire. I am a believer in working close as I can to a fire and using a fog or fan water stream. About this time Jeremy arrived and I traded the hose line with him and Dave and I engineered E-341 while cooling down. I looked around and saw that many district 3 squads were finishing up the grass fires (later I counted at least 11 separate grass burns, probably the most started by a single vehicle). We then powered down the engines pumps and drained hoses. The fire was probably started by locking rear brakes or rear axel bearing going out and setting the rear tires on fire. As the semi drove down the highway, the burning tires spewed off into the medium and ditch. I took several pictures with my phone but it's new and we haven't figured how to transfer them to the computer so I'm using Jeremy's one picture. The bad---Multiple grass fires on interstate highway creating visibility problems for traffic. Danger work for our squads with I-70 traffic. With all the grass fires taking extra personal, we had only one firefighter attacking the trailer fire initially. The Good---most all of our firefighters are good on grass fires and used to working safely on interstate. The grass was green and burned slowly. The wind was parallel to the highway keeping the grass fires on the right-a-way. Chief Abker our most experienced leader was incident command over a multi-faceted fire scene. We had a good response so the follow-on trucks concentrated on the trailer fire. There were lots of Law enforcement to handle traffic making the scene safer.
Jeremy's picture of Sheldon washing debris off the highway. He's standing on the side of the trailer where I attacked the fire.
Picture of chief A. and the line up of engines and support tankers for the trailer fire. Chief A. was engineer on E-321 and also incident command.
Picture of Jeremy Sheldon and Dave finishing cooling down the trailer tires/axel.
After trading jobs with Dave and becoming engineer on E-341, once the fire was knocked down I eased the hose pressure from 130 psi to 100 and eventually 50.
One of the spot grass fires on the medium across from where the semi truck and trailer came to a stop.
Sept. 29, semi rollover just south of Armstrong on Brookville Rds.
I was ready to take the seed wheat to Tescott for cleaning when this call came in around 1 pm. The call stated a semi rollover with the drivers foot was pinned. The scene was 5 miles from my home so I got there quickly with Liz and Jeremy behind me a ways. I geared up and found the semi on it's side with the drivers' foot pinned by the smashed driver door. The cab was so smashed that I couldn't get in to assist the driver. Jeremy arrived and got me a screw driver and I carefully took out the back window seal and removed the window glass. Now, the paramedics and other rescue folks could speak directly with the driver and begin to assess his injuries. My concern was when we released his foot, (it looked to be maybe broken), he would further damage it when his leg dropped to the bottom of the cab. The rescue truck Lt. was going to have me use the spreader tool to pry the door away to release his foot. I said that I thought we could do it by hand, (I didn't do it that way earlier for the reason stated above.) We tried to hand open the door and it gave away easily releasing the drivers foot. His other leg was twisted behind the drivers seat so I crawled in the cab and pushed the seat back and the driver crawled out the back window hole. He even walked to the gurney. We then finished de-energizing the semi and plugged an oil leak in the engine. After this, I went home. The bad thing about this was another serious semi accident. We had one a couple of weeks earlier. The good was District 3 got a lot of work done on the semi so the Salina rescue/paramedics could concentrate on the driver. Tate, chief Abker, Jeremy, Liz and I were the rural folks who responded. Jeremy took a couple of pictures but I can't resize them right for the web site.
Jeremy's picture shows the top of my helmet as I was removing the back window of the semi cab.
Picture of Liz and me as I examine the top door where the driver's foot was trapped.
October 1, structure fire (machine shed) in Carnerio.
I was 3 miles from home spreading fertilizer at around 6 pm when I heard this page. I hurried home best I could and jumped in with Jeremy, whom was waiting for me. We arrived in Carnerio and found E-341 and a Kanopolis truck pumping water into a machine shed through the two doors. The fire was knocked out pretty well at that time. Jeremy grabbed the ventilation fan off of 341 while I packed up. We entered the building as the Kanopolis guys backed out to let smoke disperse. Jeremy used the flashlight to spot smoky/smoldering areas and I hit them with the hose stream. After that we took off a overhead door and Rob, who brought E-321, used a thermal imaging camera to look for anything we had missed dousing hot spots. He found no heat areas so we drained and staked hoses and went home.
October 13, grass fire on north Eff Creek Rd.
Grassland fire index was in the "high" category with temps in the high 70s and dews in the 30s making for LOW relative humidities, with winds west at 6. Jeremy and I were working on the wheat drill around 5:10 pm when this call came in. We called in to dispatch and headed for the fire. We got to the scene first, I gave a size up and took incident command. The home owner (wife), was burning trash in a quasi-pit that was located in a brome field, when the fire spread to an adjacent brush pile, then spread out into the now dry brome field. The biggest problem was the fire burning within a few feet of a cedar shelter belt with taller grass underneath the trees that stretched up to the house and out buildings. Jeremy was trying to stomp out this part of the fire while I was using my extra bunker pants as a fire beater. At this time the wife drove up in a pickup with two trash cans full of water. Jeremy took the trash cans knocked out portions (most) of the fire and I covered anything he missed. We did this within feet of the shelter belt trees. (It always amazes me how many times we have done things that make all the difference to fire control either on a split second decision, or a desperate last chance move). Dave, with Sq. 340 arrived and he and Jeremy quickly knocked out the remaining grass fire in the brome field. A Lincoln county Squad arrived, then our Sq. 320. I had them wet down the brush pile with Sq. 340. Sq. 350 and T-342 arrived to help out and the fire was totally out. I had T-342 refill the Lincoln truck and released them. 342 then refilled 340 and 320. I conferred with the sheriff deputy and land owner, released the squads/tanker and terminated the incident with dispatch.
October 14, grass fire just east of Carnerio in Ellsworth county.
Grass land fire index was in the "high" category today with temps in the 70s east winds at 10 mph. I was beginning to eat dinner around 1 pm. when this call came in. I picked up Jeremy and headed south to the fire. I asked dispatch for further information on the fire---there was not much. Dave in Sq. 340 arrived first and called large grass fire!!! We arrived about 3 minutes after Dave and Jeremy got on board 340 for the attack. I gave a second size up and took incident command. One problem we had was the incident was in a low area and our transmissions (radio talk) were broken. The fire had burned into a winding creek setting lots of logs and dead trees on fire. I detailed Dave and Jeremy to knock out the grass fire first which they did. Sqds 320 and 350 arrived and we started to clear burning trees/logs along the fire line. T-331 arrived just in time to start refilling empty squads. Chief Abker then arrived in Sq 360. The time was nearing 3 pm. and I had to get Jeremy home for his bus route. I talked to Chief Abker, gave him the land owner info I had and transferred command to him and left for home. The fire started when the land owner camped overnight and embers flared back up and started the nearby grass on fire.
Picture of Sq. 320 working the perimeter after the grass fire was out.
Picture of all the burning logs we had to move and put out. Here, Dave, Jeremy and Gary are working the north fire perimeter.
October 16, two grass fire calls.
Grass land fire was in the "high" category with 60s temps and northeast winds at 10 mph. When I was coming home from Lincoln Co. around 12:30, I saw a plume of smoke in the Smoky Hill Weapons area (not unusual). At home the pager tones for multiple grass fires on the south side of the range with structures threatened. Marquete fire requested our mutual aid. I was pulling onto highway 40 with E-341 when district 3 was called off. I parked the truck and Shane and Lane arrived. We talked a bit then Dave and Doug returned with Sq. 340. They parked and we were questioning them on the call when we were paged to Burma Rd. for multiple spot fires in the ditch. Dave and Doug knocked down the fires with Sq. 340 then Lane, Shane and I mopped up with 342. Around a half a mile of ditch burned, possibly from a hot tire. We returned to Brookville thinking that things run in threes??!
October 19, a nasty fire with the red flags a-waving.
Grassland fire index was 70 today with red flag warnings going for all of central Kansas. Temps were in the high 70s and winds south gusting to 40. I had just got home from Salina around 3 pm. when this call came in---multiple grass fires in the ditch at Burma road. I took the last truck out of Brookville, picked up Chris R. and we headed to the scene. Command started to call out the fire burning towards a farmstead and a scurry developed to cover that. When we got on scene command took Chris for a hoseman on a squad. I was on Burma Rd., in the middle of a traffic snarl of tanker trucks. I drove up a ways and pulled into a private driveway and set up to tend empty Squads. One of our firefighters called me on my phone and said the fire had jumped the road and civilians were trying to control it with shovels. Seeing no empty trucks coming, I unscrewed my fill hose and drove up to that area. We pulled the booster line and wetted down the area east of the road then switched sides and attacked fire on the west side (the side that the fire started on). We then started the aux pump (so we could drive and spray water) and wetted down hot spots on the west side of the highway. After that we refilled with water at staging and was released to go home. Some of our trucks and personal had close encounters with the fire as it was so smoky, visibility was so that they didn't see fire racing towards them from relights on the fire line. Trucks from districts 7,6,2,3 and 5 worked this fire to get it under control.
Picture taken from the east side of Burma Rd. looking southwest at the burned off pasture. The active fire was just off picture to the right. Smoke gave problems fighting this fire due to very low visibility.
October 31, car fire, mile marker 236 I-70.
I had just walked in the house around 12:30 pm. when this call came in. My pager is giving out and I couldn't hear much text. I ran up the stairs to listen on Liz's pager and got the picture. A car being pulled by another car was on fire at the 238. I geared up and called in my response heading east to exit 238. After 3 miles or so dispatch called the fire at the 236. Dang! If I had known that when I left the house, I could have turned west to I-70 and cut 5 miles off my travel. I arrived after Squad 350 to find the fire already knocked down. I helped open the hood and the engine area of the car was cooled down. It was towed on a dolly where the front wheels were off the pavement and the back wheels free wheeled. There was fire extinguishers used that held the fire so only the engine area suffered damage with smoke damage to the interior of the car. I did not hear of a cause to this fire.
November 28, vehicle wrecks at the 236 marker, I-70 due to icing.
It was raining and 27 temp. when this call came in. My pickup that I usually take was completely iced over so Liz and I took the car which took extra time to transfer equipment. 236 is just north of our house so we were first on scene. We found 2 cars upright in the medium, with one SUV on it's side on the right shoulder. Liz called this in and we got out by the overturned SUV. We found the occupants were in another car on the crossover area keeping warm. Liz examined them and gave their codes which I relayed to dispatch---they were all pretty good. I also requested law enforcement as traffic was barreling by the scene. Soon deputies, fire trucks and EMS arrived. I showed where the SUV occupants were for EMS to check out and Liz and I cleared the scene, mainly to get out of the way.
Picture of the three vehicles involved from the gathering point on the medium crossover.
November 28, more accidents caused by icy I-70.
When night time came, it was still drizzling and turning colder. After 7:30, calls came in at the 240, 241 and 237 mile markers, one after the other. The worst was a SUV rolling several times with 4 occupants. One of the four was seriously injured. Liz and I got on scene the same time as some of our first responders from Hedville. Liz helped with the injured while I used a flashlight to move traffic over in the passing lane and slow it down. Squad 340 set up west of me and really helped with the traffic control. Still, there are some people who are stupid! A couple of cars did not slow down, flying by at probably 70 mph. EMS arrived and loaded the victims. Liz and I cleared the scene and was turning into our driveway when we were called back out. Our units still working the first wreck responded quickly to this rollover. They canceled our response and we went back home.
November 30, shed fire near a house, on North Hedville Rd.
The time was just before 11 am. I was working on a corral at Grandma's when this call came in---shed on fire near a house and it had propane bottles in it. I went home and geared up then called in my response to dispatch. I picked up Jeremy at his corner and headed to Brookville station. We had not hit Brookville Rd. when we heard E-341 leave Brookville and T-351 leave Glendale. Knowing this we called in that we now were heading straight to the fire. A little farther on we heard Sq. 360 call out that they had achieved fire knockdown on the fully involved shed and didn't need any more help. The Hedville station was around 2 miles from the fire which helped on such a quick hit-- a good ending.
Dec. 1, auto accident 1 mile west of Brookville on highway 40. Pickup verses Ellsworth ambulance.
I was ready to start feeding cattle around 8:45 when this call came in. Since my pickup that I use for responding was in the shop, Liz and I used my feeding truck which took extra time to transfer gear. One of the Salina first responder called for a helicopter so I thought I would help with the landing zone. We got on scene at the same time as the Saline Co. ambulance and shift Lt. All people involved except the ambulance driver was seemingly ok so the LT. called off the helo. Concentration turned to the Ellsworth driver who had his leg pinned between the dash/steering wheel and the buckled door. I helped with the door removal then tried to de-energize the ambulance while Salina rescue spread the cab wide enough to get the driver out. This was accomplished and we slid the driver onto the spine board then to the gurney. We picked up equipment and left the scene.
December 6, trailer house fire on east 2nd St. Brookville.
I was feeding cattle around 7:30 am. when this call came in. I was in a hurry as it was Sunday morning and I didn't take my pager, depending on my phone text to get calls. Unfortunately the page didn't text out. Liz called and said "did you hear it" "hear what"? I rushed home and geared up and took off for Brookville. Doug L. took E-341 and I heard him call out heavy smoke no flames when he reached the scene. I got to the scene along with E-321 and Sq. 330. I packed up as other firefighters removed skirting as at that time most of the fire seemed to be under the trailer. We shot a lot of water under the trailer to seemingly no effect for a while until two hose lines were used. A hole was burned through the floor and began to spread to the center interior of the home. We were on the opposite side from the main entrance and thought that door was open and the house some what ventilated. We opened the utility door and a second later I experienced my first back draft entering a house. It wasn't major, just a second pause, then whosh with fire shooting out over our head. We then shot a water stream into the interior as Jeremy started a ventilation fan and cleared the smoke. Another hose team came in from the main entrance and fire knockdown was achieved quickly. After that, it was an overhaul situation then we stacked hoses and changed out empty air pack bottles. Cause of the fire was probably electrical as the family had problems the day before with a drop cord to a heater unit.
I snapped this picture of the mobile home when I arrived on scene. Then, it was off to work.
Picture of the home when I was leaving the scene. Structure was there, but the inside was trashed by heat, smoke and water---probably a total loss.
December 10, mutual aid to Ellsworth/Lincoln county grass fire.
Grassland fire index was in the low "high" category with winds out of the NW at 20 and humidity around 20% at 57 degrees. I was feeding cattle around 9:45 when I saw a grass smoke plume to my west. I called Jeremy about it and drove first to one hill (so I could see better), then another. The fire was 6 to 7 miles west of home. Jeremy drove up to the fire while I called chief Abker to make him aware we might be called. I kept feeding until we got paged to stand by our stations. I went home, switched trucks and headed for Brookville. Jeremy got to the fire area and stated that it had burned over a hill and into a canyon. I told him that was the chance for Ellsworth and Lincoln units to knock it out but to call me if it started to burn up the next hill. (The strong wind would drive the fire faster going up and on top of hills making it very out of control) Chief Abker took his command truck up to the area at this time too. Driving to Brookville it looked like less smoke was showing. I got to the station and found Shane, Doug, and Dave were geared and had trucks running. As I was finishing gearing up, Jeremy called and said "they've lost it, it is on top of the hill, roll the trucks". We loaded up, Dave and Doug in Sq. 340, Shane in T-342 and me in E-341. We were turning onto highway 40 when the page was sent to respond. We arrived on scene along with many other trucks from other departments. Jeremy got on with Shane on T-342. I set up at the end of a long driveway to refill empty trucks. I almost immediately began to fill trucks and soon became low on water. At this time, Crop Service's semi tanker pulled up, connected a hose to my truck and began to refill me as I continued to fill empty trucks that came looking for water. Soon, with many trucks piling on, the fire was brought under control 1/2 mile west of my position. I used all the crop service tanker's water but continued to refill the occasional empty truck that drove up. There were many other tankers in my area now so refilling slowed down. We were released to go home at this time. I stayed to fill a couple more trucks and was the last district 3 truck to leave the scene. I don't know how the fire started, but according to Jeremy, it started off I-70 and burned at least 1.5 miles.
Jeremy's first picture was when the fire was still in the canyon but was hard for trucks to get to.
Jeremy's picture of the fire beginning to burn out of the canyon.
Jeremy's picture of the fire on top of the hills burning full bore out of control.
This was what the fire looked like from my truck, many miles away as I approached.
I snapped this picture in between filling empty trucks. The fire was 1/2 mile west of my position.
Dec. 20, fire call at north Brownhill Rd.
I was in Brookville at our monthly fire meeting when just after the meeting ended this call came in at around 7 pm. There was supposed to be a illegal fire burning. Doug and Dave took off first with Sq. 340 and Shane and I took T-342. Sq. 340 got on scene and said everything was ok. We turned back all responding trucks except Dave wanted Shane and I to come on and investigate. The fire was 3 foot by 3 foot inside a steel enclosure so was legal. Shane told the landowner he could continue to burn and we laid the call on to a cranky neighbor.