"Biggest Field Fire This Season" - Merrill Fire Chief, Jacob Conley
(Merrill) -- Smoke could be seen for miles, as fire fighters from Merrill, Le Mars, Hinton and Akron battled another grass and field fire this afternoon about five miles southwest of Le Mars, and a half mile west of County Road K-42. Possibly a hundred acres or more had burned as strong winds gusting up to 40 mph from the northwest kept fanning the flames, giving fire officials an added challenge in their attempts to contain and control the blaze.
Jacob Conley is the fire chief for the Merrill Fire Department.
Seven different grass rigs and a couple of ATV Rangers were used to battle the fire, as the terrain and location of the fire made it difficult for the large fire trucks to gain access to the fire. The tankers were used to constantly refill the pick-up grass rigs with water. The fire appears to have started in a ravine near a creek, then followed the ravine going northwest to the southeast. Conly explains the path of the fire.
Once it reached a cornfield, the fire spread quickly, burning everything in its path. Early reports indicated the fire was near the Plymouth County Energy ethanol facility, but the fire remained at least a half mile away from that plant. Conley says the strong winds and low humidity made it difficult to contain the fire. Neighboring farmers also assisted the fire officials by using large tractors with discs. Fire officials were on the scene for more than two hours.
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