The Houston Fire Department was called twice last Wednesday to deal with two fires that had gotten out of control.
Fire Chief Jim Daigneault says it was dry and windy out on Wednesday and people should be checking weather conditions before burning.
Daigneault says two trucks and seven firefighters responded at 1 p.m. Wednesday to a 9-1-1 call about a hay pile on fire on Poplar Street.
Daigneault says there were close to 40 round bales stacked in a pile, and arriving they could see open flames and lots of smoke.
“When we got there, a lot of [the bales] were all black and just smoking,” said Daigneault.
“It made more smoke than anything else,” he said.
Asked about the challenges they had fighting the fire, Daigneault said the biggest one was opening up and putting out the tightly wound hay bales.
“It starts burning inside of [the bales] so you have to open them all up to get access to it,” said Daigneault.
Daigneault says it was burning barrel that started the fire.
“Sounds like he was burning some stuff and then an ember came out and caught his hay bales on fire,” he said, adding that it was a gust of wind that blew the embers into the hay.
One concern firefighters had was that the wind might blow the fire over to a stack plastic wrapped bales not too far away, said Daigneault.
At 3 p.m. the Houston Fire Department got a 9-1-1 call about another fire, this one an out-of-control grass fire on Lund Road.
Daigneault says six firefighters, a firetruck from the department and a truck from the hay fire responded.
The five-acre fire was at the back of a property on Lund Road and had gotten onto the power line access, Daigneault said.
“It was mostly grass that was burning, but it was getting into a few trees and burned a few fence posts,” he said.
Daigneault says they called the forest service in to help because they are good at fighting bush fires, and the fire looked like it had gotten into some of the trees and bush around that area.
“And being windy, we didn’t want to risk [the fire] getting away, ’cause there are houses around in that area,” he said.
Ten Forest Service people came from Burns Lake and dealt with the fire in the bush and the hot spots, while the Houston firefighters focused on the burning grass.
Asked about the challenges, Daigneault says the fire wasn’t too bad to handle, and biggest challenge was getting access to the fire.
They went through a field and ended up getting the truck stuck, he said, adding that besides that the fire was controlled within three hours.
Asked if he has further advice for people burning grass, Daigneault said nobody should be burning grass now.
“It’s amazingly dry out right now, for this time of year,” said Daigneault.
“Right now with the weather conditions, you should not even be burning,” he said.
“It’s just not practical… the wind comes up so quick and it takes off so fast.”
Daigneault says that when people do burn, they should be getting permits and should not be burning general dead grass and clearing land, but should be burning only piles.
“But it’s just not a good idea right now… As you can see, it spreads fairly quick,” he said.