Firefighters Warn of Brush Fire Dangers
By: Carly O'Keefe
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ill. - Joe Weaver says he was being very cautious while burning a small pile of termite-infested firewood. But during hot, dry and windy conditions, firefighters say you can never be careful enough.
"I was out here the whole time doing yard work, I just let it go because I thought it was burnt out, the wind must have picked up the ashes and under the ashes there must have been some embers that blew into the field," said Weaver.
Hours after Weaver believed the fire had gone out, the field next to his home ignited.
"It was real quick, before I could run in the house for a garden hose, it was over the fence and halfway across the field," said Weaver.
Jefferson County Fire Protection District was paged out at 12:04, calling in other fire departments to help as the fire spread from field to field and became difficult to contain.
"We're guessing about 200 acres burnt, a lot of it is open land, a lot of woods, it had a lot of wind helping it and when it got going, there was no stopping it," said Jefferson County Fire Protection District Firefighter Scott Pennington.
Firefighters say during extremely dry conditions a small controlled burn can easily transform into an out of control brush fire.
"It's really easy to do, with the winds and terrain and dryness, it's just a bad combination," said Pennington. "Don't burn when it's dry, and definitely don't burn on a dry and windy day."
Weaver says he's learned his lesson. "I'm not going to burn nothing no more, not now."