August 15, 2012

Harvesting fire stopped by group effort

By Michael Johnson, Editor

A fire started Thursday afternoon on the Pablo Ronderos farm, about 9 miles east of Washburn, was extinguished with the help of area farmers and the Washburn Fire Department. It’s believed the fire started while harvesting equipment was unloading wheat in the east end of a field. The blaze was pushed westward by wind across a wheat field that was mostly harvested. Luckily, harvesting started from the west end so that the fire did not have nearly as much fuel to burn on. Crews from the Washburn Fire Department headed to the fire at about 3:30 p.m. By the time they reached it, the fire had been moving west about 20 minutes and was broadening. Farmers from surrounding areas started coming out and beating down the flames as they spread. With each gust of wind, the flames burned hotter and spread faster. The fire department sprayed the edges of the fire, which helped to slow that speed. They then attempted to spray down the head of the fire, which was headed for an unharvested canola field on the Mark Jennings farm. At that time, the Wilton Fire Department was also on scene adding water. Jennings was working to put a stop to the fire by cultivating the ground along the edge of the field. The blaze burned hot at the fence line and looked as though it might jump over and start the field. But with repeated passes with a cultivator and water from a water tanker, the fire came to a halt.


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