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Global Skywatch

ditch fires getting out of control


I often have my radio scanner running or turn it on when I hear sirens in my area. Today every truck in the large well-equipped Darby Volunteer Fire Department fleet along with mutual aid trucks from Hamilton Fire, Corvallis Fire and the Darby Forest Service disappeared up the hill across the street from us.

After it all calmed down I rode up there to see more of what happened.

I took these photographs while there were still a few trucks making darn sure there were no flare-ups. I yelled Thank-Yous to some of the firefighters, saluted others, expressed gratitude face-to-face with the commanders.

It appeared to me that someone burning the weeds in their irrigation ditches lost control and darn-near burned some of their neighbors out of house and home. The solid response of the firefighting community kept it from turning awful.

After my photographic tour I got into my studio “radio shack” just as the mop-up teams were called to another ditch fire gone out of control. That, along with another that happened while they were still struggling to gain control of the big one here indicate that today was a real bad day for irrigators to burn their ditches clear.

Below is a picture of the fuel load that is wreaking such havoc. It is not much. This sparse bit of dry grass and very light breeze, however, is more than enough to get out of control in a big hurry.