A rural home was threatened in one of two grassfires Hillsboro firefighters battled this weekend.
Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said 20 Hillsboro and Marion firefighters responded to a small grassfire started at 11:30 a.m. Sunday near 160th and Limestone Rds.
“The flames were small but with the wind they really hauled,” Steketee said. “We thought it would be a quick attack but the fire ran on us and got across the road and headed for a residence.”
After attempts to fight the grass fire from the backside — where grass had already burned — Steketee asked crews to shift position to fight the head fire from the front side, which meant standing in unburned grass.
Eventually, crews beat the fire back. Then, almost immediately, after he released crews, Steketee said he noticed a small puff of smoke near where the fire originally started.
“I was the only one there so I went over to try to stomp it out with my boots, but it flamed back up,” he said. “I was literally scared that we were going to lose the house.”
Steketee called crews back to the scene, then he said he pounded on the house’s door to make sure residents had evacuated as previously asked.
The house was on the other side of the road from the fire, but Steketee said the fire had already jumped the road once with winds coming out of the southwest.
The fire burned a hedgerow and incinerated a large brush pile in its path before it skirted the house, Steketee said.
Crews were released again about 10:30 p.m. after using approximately 20,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.
Steketee said he stayed with the homeowners until about 5 a.m. Monday putting out smaller fires that rekindled on the property.
“There were a lot of tired firemen but thankfully no injuries,” he said.
The cause of the fire is unknown, he said.
Eight Hillsboro firefighters and one Lehigh firefighter also responded to a controlled burn that got out-of-hand Saturday near Lehigh north of US-56 and Bison Rd.
“It wasn’t a terrible fire,” Steketee said. “We were only there about an hour.”
The 40-acre fire jumped a landowner’s fence line and charred about 10 acres of a neighbor’s field to the north and west, Steketee said.