Brush fires keep local departments busy

Waterloo Fire Chief Mark Yeager is urging the community to “use a little common sense” before conducting outdoor burnings in the wake of several fire calls handled by his department Saturday into early Sunday.

“Right now the grasses are extremely dry, and when the wind picks up things can get out of hand so quickly,” Yeager said.

Winds of 10 miles per hour or greater were prevalent Saturday — just strong enough to wreak havoc with fires.

The first call for Waterloo firefighters went out about 10:45 a.m. Saturday at 4755 Kaskaskia Road. People were conducting an outdoor burning and the wind blew it out of control. The fire was contained within a short amount of time, Yeager said.

Also during the morning, Columbia handled an out-of-control brush fire on Mule Road, and Maeystown was dispatched to a grass fire on Bushy Prairie Road.

At about 3:45 p.m., Waterloo responded to a fire in the woods at 6786 Susewind Lane. Yeager estimated about five acres were damaged in that blaze.

While Waterloo was still tending to that fire, a page went out for a brush fire at 3165 Reed Road, which the Red Bud Fire Department handled.

At about 4:15 p.m., the Waterloo, Valmeyer and Maeystown fire departments responded to a large field fire in the area of 2900 KK Road. An estimated 40 acres of land from KK Road to Ahne Road were damaged, most of which was cornstubble.

Early Sunday morning, Columbia responded to a brush fire on Gilmore Lake Road. Waterloo was called around 4 a.m. Sunday to a campfire that got out of control in the backyard of 8323 Meadowfield Court near Country Club Lane. A group of youngsters who were participating in a sleepover joined parents in dumping water on the fire and mostly had it extinguished upon firefighter arrival.

“Our trucks got a workout,” Yeager said of the busy day. “Our men got a workout.”

Yeager encouraged Monroe County residents to refrain from burning outdoors if at all possible, or to at least wait until winds are calm.

“Anyone doing a controlled burn should call police dispatch and let them know ahead of time to give everyone a heads up,” Yeager added.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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