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Warm, windy weather adds to fire woes

Staff writer

Peabody firefighters got another run at fighting a fast-moving rural grass fire at about 3 p.m. Saturday south and west of Peabody near the country club.

Thought to have been started by a spark from a passing train on the north-south Union Pacific line, the fire quickly spread, bolstered by high winds and dry conditions.

“We had a couple of fire fighters with the tank wagon at the park where prep work was being done for new baseball dugouts,” Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner said. “As they kept track of that situation, they noticed heavy smoke moving up to the city limits from the south.”

Penner said they contacted county dispatchers and had department personnel paged out.

“They also asked for mutual aid from Florence and Walton,” Penner said.

Transmissions indicated a request for sheriff’s officers to be sent to remove onlookers at Nighthawk Rd. and 50th Rd. where they had begun to gather. About an hour later, an unusual transmission was made asking if Peabody Fire had copied a previous transmission that a semi with 3,000 gallons of water was available near the fire.

“Brock Baker owns the ground near the Nighthawk and 50th Rds. corner and he has equipment out there,” Penner said. “Some of his employees were out there with a load of water and they were spraying the ground to stop the fire from spreading to the equipment, bins, and sheds.

Penner said that without precipitation conditions will likely remain conducive for grass fires

“Saturday was a ‘red flag alert’ day,” he said. “I think we are looking at a lot of those this spring because unless we get some decent moisture pretty quick, the conditions are right. The wind is severe and unseasonable temperatures are drying everything out. This kind of problem is going to be with us until we get some good rains. People need to be aware.”

Most of the fire was out and crews on their way home by 6 p.m.

Last modified March 3, 2016

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