ANTHON, Iowa (KCAU) – Sunday’s fire was one of the biggest fires the fire chief of Anthon said he could remember.
The fire burned almost two square miles of farmland despite the size, and with the help of many fire departments, it was managed.
“In this community, there are a lot of people who are fire fighters and farmers so knowing that people got up got out and dropped everything they were doing at the cost of quite a financial loss for them, especially with the rain, it was quite an awesome experience to watch and see come together,” said James Thomas, who lives near Anthon.
50 mile per hour wind gusts helped fuel a massive grass fire on Sunday outside of Anthon.
“Every time we would get a good black line down to stop the fire it would just run right through it and we would go up another 1/2 mile ahead of it and try it again and it would just burn right through it a half-mile ahead,” said Anthon Fire Chief Joe Collins.
Anthon, Sloan, Salix, Bronson, Moville, Correctionville, and Kingsley’s fire departments all stepped up to help put out the fire.
“We needed just about everybody to see if we could get ahead of this and get it controlled and we were protecting houses that were in the path, too, so we were setting up around them,” said Collins.
About 1,300 acres of farmland was burned, including 80 acres of Chief Collins’s corn.
“My main concern was the safety of the firemen I was afraid that they would get out in the smoke and a vehicle would stop and they would get overrun by the flames. I wanted to make sure everybody was safe,” said Collins.
“I’m thankful for all of the volunteer firefighters around here, it’s a really, really tough job and they did it at their own loss actually and everybody in this community definitely appreciates it,” said Thomas.
Collins said he was also thankful for the number of farmers who came over with their disks to help. He says at one time he saw over 20 farmers out helping alongside many firemen.