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Alleged cigarette butt the culprit in field fire

Posted on Monday, July 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Fire crews from seven area fire departments spent much of the afternoon on Wednesday trying to contain a fire, that was primarily located in a harvested wheat field north of Eolia.
According to officials at the scene, the initial call to 911 was made at 3:10 p.m. By 3:30 the clouds of black smoke from the fire were visible from the southern edges of Bowling Green.
When fire crews from Eolia Community Fire Department responded to the scene they found a fire that was spreading from the shoulder of U.S. Hwy 61 into a nearby harvested wheat field.
Also responding to the scene were firefighters from Lincoln County Fire and Rescue, Lincoln County Fire Protection District No. 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Clarksville Volunteer Fire Department, the Bowling Green Rural Fire Department, and the Buffalo United Township Fire Department.
Eolia Firefighter Reid LaFave said in an interview after the fire was contained that he was appreciative that so many departments had responded, especially considering the windy conditions.
“If it was not so windy, we could have probably got it under control with just one or two brush trucks,” LaFave said. According to the National Weather Service, at the time the fire was raging in rural Pike County, the area was being hit by 16 to 22 miles per hour winds.
LaFave also said he was appreciative of the staff at the Pike County and Lincoln County dispatch centers who helped page for mutual aid. He also expressed his appreciation for the Missouri State Highway Patrol for closing a portion of one of the northbound lanes of Hwy. 61.
By the time that the fire was contained at 5 p.m., the fire had burnt an estimated 35 acres of crop land in three adjoining fields.
LaFave said he and other firefighters believed that the fire was caused by a cigarette butt thrown from a passing motorist on Hwy. 61.
Pike Countians are reminded that due to dry and windy conditions, that even controlled burns can get out-of-hand quickly.

Flames continue to burn across a harvested wheat field in rural Pike County on Wednesday afternoon near Eolia. The fire, which is believed to have been started by a cigarette butt thrown from a passing car, burned an estimated 35 acres before fire crews from seven departments were able to stop the blaze.