Local firefighters have busy, trying day with grass fire

YORK COUNTY – York Fire Chief Tony Bestwick has provided information about a very busy Thursday during which his department, as well as several others from the York County community, battled a grass fire north of York.

“We were dispatched to a grass fire in a cattle lot, in some trees close to buildings at 1316 Road 16,” Bestwick said. “The call came in at 2:21 p.m. York Fire immediately sent our tanker 631, fire chief and grass rig to the scene. On arrival, the landowner and bystanders were trying to put out the fire in the cattle lot with shovels and a garden hose. The house and outbuildings were not in the path of the fire.

“The high wind drove the fire to the north. The landowner informed us the fire had already jumped the creek to the north and it was burning in the high grass and trees. Our tanker and grass rig were assigned to fight the fire to the north. They had to use the neighbor’s driveway to gain access. When our second tanker arrived on the scene it was tasked with controlling the fire in the cow lot. Mutual aid was requested from the Benedict and Waco Fire Departments due to the terrain, large area of the fire, speed of the fire spread and fire load. York Engine 621 was requested to set up a refill station on the scene for the grass rigs. CVA sent three pickups with water tanks and one water tanker. CVA did a remarkable job of making sure our dump tank at the scene was always full. They did such a good job we did not have to establish a water shuttle operation and take our tankers out of the firefight. We were able to keep the fire from spreading to the north side of the creek,” Bestwick said further.

“The creek made a natural fire break for us,” Chief Bestwick continued. “When our mutual aid equipment started arriving, we were able to put a York tanker and Benedict tanker on the north side of the creek and keep the fire from jumping the creek. This creek continued to the northeast where there are two houses located. We were able to get the fire controlled. We spent a lot of time putting out hot spots. Chainsaws were used to cut down trees with fire inside or burning at the top. Two front-end loaders were brought to the scene, one from Nienhueser Farms and the other from Wy Ad. The loaders were used to assist with taking the trees down. Neighbors supplied the firefighters with food and water on the scene. There were no injuries to firefighters and there was no damage to any buildings.”

Bestwick expressed great appreciation for everyone’s help.

“York Fire would like to thank the Benedict Volunteer Fire Department and Waco Volunteer Fire Department for their assistance and very hard work, CVA for taking care of the water for us, the Ziegs for keeping us fed, Wy Ad and Nienhueser Farms for the use of the loaders, Hitz Towing for what they do best and the 911 Communication Center for their assistance.”

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