The first heat wave of the year has hit — and the first control burn to go out of control occurred in the middle of it.
Newton Fire/EMS responded to a call of a control burn gone wild near Whitewater — about one acre was affected. According to the Newton Fire/EMS department, the bulk of the work was spot fires along a fence and putting out hot spots in the area.
The fire was a rekindling of an earlier control burn — and a reminder that prior to a control burn a call needs to be made to 911.
"They actually had called in a control burn last week," said Lon Buller, director of Harvey County Emergency Management. "What happened they had tree trimming going on, and the tree company dumped some of it into a pit not realizing that there was hot stuff down there. It ignited. … Hot embers got into the wind and into the grass. … It was a slow burner that got fanned by the wind."
Buller said that Tuesday, the day the fire rekindled, was a day control burn would not have been allowed — a combination of high temps and wind made burning dangerous.
The county passed an ordinance requiring anyone wanting to perform a control burn to call 911 in advance.
Buller said the burning season is just around the corner — and in turn a dangerous time of year.
"It won't be long and harvest will be on," Buller said. "The wheat is starting to turn. If they burn stubble, that stuff will burn fast. It is really important to call in. Wind can make that jump across the road and start a fire. … With the humidity and temps that we have right now, it is a big stress on our firefighters getting those fires out."