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UPDATE - Crews Battling Huge Field Fire In Brown County

Last updated on Thursday, August 9, 2012

(VAN BUREN TWP.) - About 50 acres of field were burning Wednesday night near the Brown/Jackson county lines

The incident was in the 8900 block of State Road 135, south of Brown County State Park.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Van Buren firefighters were called to a field fire that originated with one flaming hay bale in the 8900 block of State Road 135 South, near the Brown-Jackson county line.

4:25 p.m. UPDATE: The Van Buren fire chief has asked for help from all available firefighters in the county. The fire has grown from about one acre to about 30 acres and is moving quickly.

5:15 p.m. Responders remain at the scene, and additional fire personnel and apparatus are continuing to arrive to assist in fighting the blaze. Responders are also working to protect structures near the path of the fire.

5:45 p.m. Fire personnel continue to fight the blaze from several sides. At this point, it has spread into nearby woods. A reporter on the scene advised that it appears a double-wide mobile home has been protected and continues to remain standing, though the property all around it has been touched by fire.

6:20 p.m. Responders not involved with the two established fire crews on scene have been called back to a staging area on 135 South for further direction. One property owner in the area is being transferred to EMS with burns, the severity of which have not been advised. Crews are working to distribute water to those working the scene.

7 p.m. Firefighters report the property owner's burns were minor. Firefighters from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are working to control the path of the fire near the woods, but cannot report that they have it "hooked" yet.

7:25 p.m. The Van Buren fire chief reports that the fire is under control.

8:20 p.m. Van Buren Fire Chief John Ward reported that with the help of more than 50 firefighters from eight departments and the DNR, no structures were lost in the fire, which spanned approximately 1 1/2 square miles. The fire started when a farmer was bailing hay and a bail caught on fire.

Shifting wind and tinder-dry ground conditions made matters worse. Brown County has been under a burn ban since June 28 because of high fire danger.

The fire jumped three fence lines and spread into some trees before firefighters could bring it under control, three-and-a-half hours after it started.

Van Buren Township residents also came to help, with a bulldozer to help make a fire break and a commercial water tanker usually used to supply private homes. Area residents also delivered drinking water to firefighters.

Firefighters pulled water for the fire from hydrants near the Brown-Jackson county line, tankers from area fire departments, and what was left in a couple of small ponds after a dry summer. Ward considered an offer from a local pilot to drop 300-gallon water loads from a plane, but the price tag of $1,000 per hour was cost-prohibitive, he said.

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