Fires run rampant in dry, windy conditions

Several area fire departments spent Friday battling fires that spread quickly in dry and windy conditions.

A field fire turned into a structure fire and totaled two buildings at about 2:30 p.m. on Sanford Avenue and Highway 14.

The Beaman, Albion, Conrad, Liscomb and Green Mountain fire departments extinguished it in about 30 minutes. There were no injuries.

Before the buildings were engulfed in flames, two fields less than a mile away also caught on fire.

The fires were assumed to be caused by cigarettes thrown out the window, said Dustin Brown, a Liscomb firefighter on scene.

“When it’s dry you can’t be throwing cigarettes out the window,” said Brown.

Another fire started engulfed a nine acre Albion field on Wise Garden Road. That fire was caused by open burning that jumped to the nearby field.

“With the dry conditions we have right now, plus the wind creates an ideal opportunity for a grass fire,” said Doug Betts, Albion fire chief. “People shouldn’t discard their smoking materials or burn trash or do other risky behaviors involving fire when it’s dry and windy like it is.”

Kim Elder, Marshall County Emergency Management director, said there is not an active burn ban in Marshall County, nor has there been discussion of getting one.

“We’re pretty good about having people comply when it’s windy,” Elder said. “That’s why we don’t hurry into it and since it is a lot of paper work and we don’t see a lot of change in what people do.”

In order to obtain a burn ban for the county, the 13 fire chiefs in Marshall County would vote to get one, then Elder would request it from the state fire marshal.

The National Weather Service issued an elevated fire risk for portions of central Iowa Friday.