Wind fans flames Monday

Wind fans flames Monday by M. Jill Karolevitz High winds and dry conditions caused a fire to burn out of control Monday northwest of Vermillion.

The Vermillion Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call in the area of the Frog Creek Road just north of the Bluff Road at 10:40 a.m.

�A farmer was burning brush out of a slough and the fire got away from him due to the wind,� said Vermillion Fire Chief Doug Brunick. �The Wakonda Fire Department was initially called and we rolled along with them.�

Brunick said the fire burned farmland and grassy areas that dipped into a gully.

�Our challenges included the wind, and once the fire got into the draw, we were unable to drive our vehicles in,� he said. �So we had to walk in with grass swatters and shovels. Some of the men also wore water backpacks.�

The fire also threatened outbuildings at the Randy and Sandy Harper residence. Neighbors helped save the structures, Brunick said.

�One neighbor had a maintainer and made a fire break,� he said. �Other neighbors also helped keep the fire away from the buildings.�

One Vermillion fire fighter hurt his back during the incident, and the farmer was transported by ambulance to Sioux Valley Vermillion Hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion and released.

Vermillion fire fighters responded with three units, as did Wakonda.

�We had a simultaneous call to another fire at Walker�s Landing where we had sent two trucks,� Brunick said. �When they were finished there, they came to help at the other fire, so in total we had five units and 24 men. Wakonda sent about 10 or 12 men.�

It took about two hours to get the blaze under control, Brunick said.

On Tuesday, Brunick returned to the scene to measure acreage burned and noticed several smoldering areas, so several fire fighters were called back.

�There was some smoldering in the draw, so we had the brush unit and about five guys come out,� Brunick said. �It took about 15 or 20 minutes to take care of it,� Brunick said.

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