Firefighters in western Iowa had to get creative to stop a large grass fire that got into some hay bales. Adair Fire Chief Jordan Smith said the fire Monday started about two-miles east of the Adair Exit on I-80 from a discarded cigarette.
Heavy winds pushed the fire east-northeast along and north of the Interstate for about two-miles where the flames jumped a gravel road and got into around 50 large hay bales. Smith says the hay bales are almost impossible to put out unless you break them apart and hose them down — so they came up with another plan. He says they asked neighboring farmer who has construction equipment to use his excavator to dig big hole — and they dumped the bales in the hole and buried them.
Three firefighters from Adair suffered minor injuries while fighting the fire. “A couple of them just got smoke inhalation, nothing serious — they were checked out and just sent home to relax and take it easy,” Smith says. Another firefighter had minor burns to his face.
The thick curtain of smoke created problems for motorists along Interstate 80. Visibility along the interstate was down to zero at times. Several law enforcement agencies were requested for traffic control. Smith says firefighters from Adair, Casey, Stuart, Menlo, Anita, Wiota, Greenfield, Bridgewater, and Fontanelle were on the scene for about five-hours, finally wrapping things up at around 8 p.m. Monday.
Since there is no burn ban in either Guthrie or Adair Counties, Smith warned residents in the area not to do any open burning until there is sufficient moisture on the ground, especially when the winds are strong.
(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)