The cause of the fires is most likely the dry weather, according to Adairville Rural Fire Chief Larry McComas, whose department was among those who responded to the barn fire along with the Russellville Rural department. McComas says the cause for the barn fire is technically undetermined but he said with it being so dry it could have been spontaneous combustion.
McComas said there were approximately 1,700 to 2,000 bales of straw in the barn which made it extremely hard to put out. McComas urges everyone not to burn anything during this dry period, saying he has seen where a spark can be caught up in a whirlwind and be taken several hundred yards to start another fire.
The Logan County Judge/Executive Office has recently issued a no burn order immediately for the county and citizens are not to burn anything until further notice.
The grass fires that occurred this weekend burned through hundreds of acres of crop and pasture land. According to Russellville Rural Fire Chief Ben Ferguson, the fire in the Olmstead area was caused by a spark from a train.
Ferguson said trains can throw sparks from their wheels or from dragging something underneath. This- combined with the dry conditions- is a combustion nightmare.
Local farmer Lynn Dawson lost the most from this fire. He estimates the fire took 130 to 140 acres of his soybeans. Dawson said the fire spread from Allensville to the area near the grain elevators in Olmstead and burned across several farms, claiming a lot of crop and pasture before it was stopped.
“It got pretty tense there for a while,” said Dawson, a veteran fire fighter himself who added it took a lot of help from area fire departments to control the fire.
“There was a lot of wind that day and we didn't want anyone to get trapped in the fire,” said Dawson.
The Russellville City Fire Department helped with the grass fires. Chief Billy Poole wants people to be aware of the dry conditions as well. “Be extremely careful where you dispose cigarette butts,” said Poole, “and remember there is a no burn ordinance in the city limits without a permit.”
Cigarette butts improperly disposed of can cause a lot of damage, said Rural Chief Ferguson. “A cigarette butt can burn up the country.”
The grass fire out Highland Lick Road began on the Dewayne Whittaker farm.