Unfortunately it is that time of year when the fires are more prominent, but this year the lack of precipitation early on has made the danger even higher.
By Angel Wyrwas
Unfortunately it is that time of year when the fires are more prominent, but this year the lack of precipitation early on has made the danger even higher. On June 26 the Baker Fire Department was dispatched to a grass fire south of Baker near the intersection of Old Baker Highway and Duck Creek Road. The fire began when a swather hit a rock and claimed a little over three acres. The fire department was on scene for a couple hours. Then on the 27th the fire department was dispatched back to the same place due to a flare up from the previous day. Over two more acres burned in the same area.
The Baker Fire Department responded to a round baler fire north of Baker on Johny Creek Road on June 29. The owner had the fire knocked down when they arrived and there was no equipment loss. Then around midnight Custer County called for mutual aid on an 18-acre forest fire. “We couldn’t get trucks back in that country,” said Fire Chief Tom Bruha, “so we worked through the night to keep the fire at bay until the dozers came in the morning to dig the fire line.”
There was a call for mutual aid from Wibaux on July 1. That morning one fire unit from the north assisted on a grass fire and that afternoon five units assisted on another grass fire started by a swather. On July 2 the fire department responded to a call east of Baker. A lightning strike in a hayfield destroyed 1.8 acres and two round bales.
At 1 a.m. on July 4 the fire department was dispatched to a pickup fire at 3rd Street West and Fallon Ave. Fireworks that were still burning in the back of the truck bed caused the bed liner to catch fire and then the fire moved into the cab. The pickup was a total loss.
The fire department was called out several more times on the 4th. At 7:35 p.m. they were dispatched to a possible fire on the railroad west of Baker. Work was being done on the track causing a lot of dust but there was no fire. Half an hour later they were call to a fire at 10th Street East and Texas Ave caused by a firework. The fire was quickly extinguished.
An hour and a half later the fire department was dispatched to a pasture west of Baker where a floating lantern firework landed. The fire went out on its own. Then 2 1/2 hours later, just after midnight they were called to the lake gazebo where a firework had started a picnic table on fire.
On July 7 the fire department was paged to a hayfield east of Baker on Sheep Corner Road. A baler had started the fire that burned 7.71 acres and eight round bales. The firefighters were on scene for two hours.
Custer County called for mutual aid on July 8. Baker took two grass trucks, one tender and command to an approximate 8,000-acre wildland fire north of Miles City. The Baker Fire department was released Saturday evening.
“I want to encourage everyone to be safe,” said Fire Chief Bruha. “As hot and as dry as it is, we ask that people please refrain from lighting any kind of fire for the time being.”