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Fires keep Rooks firefighters busy





STOCKTON -- It was a busy week for firefighters in Rooks County.

They were called to nine fires during the past week, only one of which was a call for mutual aid in the Natoma area.

Five of the fires were Wednesday, said Rooks County Emergency Management Director Butch Post.

"We started at 9:15 a.m. and didn't get done until 11 that night," he said of Wednesday's outbreak.

The fires have varied in size, Post said, ranging as high as 300 acres.

The causes have been just as varied.

"Anything from electrical to farm machinery," he said, pointing to balers especially. "Animals in power lines. It runs the gamut."

At least one firefighter in Wednesday's outbreak suffered from dehydration and had to spend the night in the Rooks County Hospital at Plainville to get rehydrated.

"He's fine now," Post said of the firefighter.

Rooks County continues to have a burn ban.

"It's been since the first of June," he said of how long the ban has been in place. "They revisit it every week."

Still, he said, it's easy to start a fire.

"It takes nothing," he said. "Even after the rain."

Rainfall amounts varied, but in the Plainville area the rain ranged from a quarter to three-quarters of an inch.

Post said some isolated areas south of Woodston reportedly received anywhere from 2 to 3 inches of rain.

"They had some good rains," he said.

That doesn't reduce the risk of fires, however.

"The grass is still dead on top," he said "As soon as the sun comes out, it evaporates and is gone."