|Firefighters work to control the flames of a Ferron grass fire.|
Jim and Harold Behling were burning one old Chinese Elm and two old Globe Willow trees that they had cut down. Harold used a backhoe to put the trees into a large pile out in a field where it was thought to be safe to burn the trees. A water hose was brought from the house incase water was needed to control the burn pile.
Jim Behling obtained a burn permit and called the fire marshal to let him know that he planned to start the logs on fire at 8 a.m. At 8 a.m. the wind was calm, but by 9 a.m., a south wind was blowing and gusting strongly. Harold Behling used the backhoe to make bare the ground around the burn pile so that the fire would not spread.
About 9 a.m. a shower of sparks was blown from the pile of burning logs over into an adjoining field. That was when Jim called Randy Nielson the fire marshal for Ferron Volunteer Fire Department and told him the fire was out of control and spreading. Nielson in turn called the Tracy Addley, fire marshal for Orangeville Volunteer Fire Department to provide assistance and backup. Both crews working together were very efficient in controlling the grass fire. Six Ferron volunteer firemen and four Orangeville volunteer firemen responded to this call.
With the wind blowing as strongly as it was the fire could have spread quickly into other areas in Ferron. Fortunately the fire was contained within the two adjoining fields.
When Jim Behling was asked why he was burning trees on such a windy day? He said, "When I started the fire there was no wind."
We owe the volunteer firemen and women in Emery County a vote of thanks for helping to protect us from fire and other disasters. The question was asked, "Why do the residents and farmers in Emery County have to burn their fields, grass and tree stumps in April when the wind blows the strongest from the South? " The answer seems to be that a few years ago a resident in Castle Dale complained to the State Fire Marshal about the people in Emery County burning fields, grass, trees and refused any time they wanted to. As a result of this complaint the State Fire Marshal demanded that Emery County select a 30 day period in the year when they would allow the residents to burn the above mentioned things on their property. The part of the year when strong South winds can be expected was selected under the assumption, the wind would blow the smoke out of this valley.