Authorities in Shelby County have released more information about a large fire that took place Wednesday evening. As we have reported, crews from Kirkman, Harlan, Irwin and Defiance Fire Departments responded to the blaze near 1541 Redwood Road, at around 5:35-p.m., Wednesday. Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and Emergency Management officials also responded.
Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says initial units reported a large grass fire spreading rapidly to the Norhtheast. Winds at time of ignition taken from the Irwin Weather Station were reported to be out of the South, Southwest, gusting at 39-MPH. Peak wind speed during the Initial Attack was recorded at 51-MPH. Irwin Fire Chief Lynn Gaskill, Incident Commander for the fire requested additional assistance for water tankers, and grass trucks from Manilla Fire Dept, Manning Fire Dept, and Kimballton Fire Departments. Additional help from local farmers with disc arrived on scene throughout the evening.
The fire traveled 1.7 miles crossing 1800th where fire departments attempted to hold the fire. As a precaution approximately14 area residents were asked to evacuate to a shelter in Harlan, IA. Shelby County Public Health and the City of Harlan opened and staffed the shelter at the request of Shelby County Emergency Management. After the fire was contained, units were called back out at approximately10:30-p.m., for a flare up.
Roads in the area were temporarily closed to assist in the firefighting effort, and Shelby County Secondary Roads personnel responded to assist with staffing road blocks. Wives of the Irwin Firefighters and others in the Irwin community set up a canteen at the Irwin Community Center to provide water and food for the firefighter who were on scene for over 4 hours.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, and mapping of acreage will be completed today (Thursday). It is estimated to be over 300 acres in size. No injuries to fire firefighters were reported and no damage to outbuildings occurred.