Grass fires keep firefighters busy

No doubt about it, we saw a beautiful St. Patrick's Day weather-wise.

A little on the windy side, and that made for a busy one for area fire departments.

Tri-Township, Liberty, Payson Ewing and Canton firefighters responded to various grass fires over the course of the day.

One of those blazes caught a building on fire....while another set several bales of hay ablaze.

KHQA's Rajah Maples caught up with a Tri-Township crew for some reminders on what to keep in mind this time of year.

How many grass fires have you been responding to these days?

Lt. Richard Kestner says, "Now that it's drying up, it seems like we go to one a day. Some days, we have two or three runs/grass fires in a day. Everybody wants to burn off the dead grass, and it'll come back looking nice and green. People will burn out fence rows to get to the grass that they can't mow, and it comes back, and it looks nice."

But doing so requires caution and common sense. The Tri-Township Fire Department responded to this grass fire south of Quincy at about noon on Tuesday. Thankfully, it only took minutes to put the fire out. But Lt. Richard Kestner says firefighters and property owners aren't always so lucky.

Kestner says "Grass fires can get away from you very quickly, and then it can get into your building, move over to the neighbor's property. We've chased fires across a couple of different farmer's fields before."

Lt. Kestner says if you plan to burn brush, it might be a good idea to call your local fire department to give firefighters a heads up just in case the blaze gets out of hand. He says avoid burning on a windy day like we saw on Tuesday and consider talking with your neighbors about your plans as a courtesy.