A field fire five miles north of Peabody on Monday afternoon burned close to 100 acres of soybeans and wheat-stubble, and threatened some abandoned outbuildings before fire crews from Peabody and Hillsboro got it under control.
“My neighbor Rodney Suderman called me about it, and when I came over the hill I was really worried,” said Neil Hett, Rock Shop owner and resident in the same section where the fire burned.
Hett said he could not see his house initially because of all the smoke and he was worried about his wife at home.
“She didn’t even know anything was going on until I called and she went out and looked,” he said. “All that smoke probably came from the green volunteer wheat that was burning underneath.”
Luckily for the Hetts, several Peabody and Hillsboro fire department crews responded to the call, which came in at 2:01 p.m.
“It was going pretty good at first,” Peabody Assistant Fire Chief David Rempel said. “Once we got some vehicles out there, we were able to knock it down.”
Rempel said the fire started on the south side of a field just north of 110th, near Nighthawk.
“It went pretty fast with the wind gusts,” he said.
Rempel and Hett said a combine with bearing issues was the cause of the fire.
“I talked to the kid running the combine and he said the header stopped working,” Hett said. “He got out and looked and noticed it was on fire. He got back in, drove it to the road, and got the header off the combine, but the wind whipped up those sparks and the field was soon engulfed.”
Peabody firefighter Tim Peterson said six fire trucks took part in putting out the fire.
“Peabody and Hillsboro each sent a tanker and two grass trucks,” he said. “It was a rather large fire and the wind gusts made it go quicker than we anticipated at times, but the departments worked well together putting it out.”
Early on it appeared the buildings 20 yards from the north edge of the fire might be threatened, but Peterson said a hedge row in between may have helped prevent the fire line from spreading.
Once crews put out the initial fire, they drove the grass trucks over the field spraying water on hot spots.
“The problem was the old wheat stubble underneath there kept reigniting,” Hett said. “But I am glad they stuck with it to get it all put out.”
He estimated fire crews were in the area for an hour to put out the large field fire.