Fire narrowly misses farmstead
BY ALLAN TINKER
The August 12 fire east of Mercer was a surprise to Tom Houser, who lives in the house on the old Neff farm north of Irvin Neff’s place. Byron Fiedler, Mercer Fire Chief, said Houser looked out his window to see flames approaching along his driveway and shelterbelt.
Fiedler sated that this is when “defensible space” becomes critical in fires. The short, green grass and neatly kept farmstead lent to support to the fire pushing the blaze north and west along the yard. The fire diverted and burned through the shelterbelt and continued through other dry grass, trees and fields until it was under control at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The fire call came in at 1:45 on Sunday, when outdoor temperatures were in the triple digits. Fiedler stated there were six fires in McLean County that day. Four fire departments responded: Mercer, McClusky, Turtle Lake and Wilton. After helping a bit, the Wilton crew was called back to Wilton for a fire in their own area.
There were no injuries reported but damage to MEC power poles and lost power had the crews checking for flare-ups into the night.