Stubble fire followed by combine fire

A combine caught fire on a section of land northwest of Davidson on Aug. 19.

By Joel van der Veen

BLADWORTH — Two fires on the same section of land made for a busy Saturday for local firefighters and nearby farmers.

The Davidson Volunteer Fire Department was called around noon on Aug. 19 to a stubble fire on a field northwest of Davidson along the Allan Road.

After that fire was extinguished, they returned to the same section six hours later to respond to a combine fire, about a mile west.

“This was actually two completely separate fires,” deputy fire chief Don Willner told the Leader.

In both cases, he said, area farmers responded with their tractors, discers and water trucks, helping to keep the fires from spreading.

“The discers did most of the work,” said Willner. “They knocked it down faster than we did.”

Given the dry, windy conditions, Willner said their help was crucial in preventing the fire from crossing the Allan Road into the adjacent pasture land, “which would have been extremely difficult to contain.”

The first call came in at 12:10 p.m., with Rescue 481, Engine 482 and Tanker 481 responding.

Willner said the smoke was visible from town as the firefighters headed out.

Upon arrival, they found the farmer using a 4WD tractor with a discer around the perimeter to limit the spread.

Neighbours brought two or three additional tractors and discers, while water trucks were also brought to the site, including a truck from the Clear Spring colony.

Willner said firefighters were on the scene for roughly two hours.

The second call came in around 6:30 p.m., reporting a combine fire located about a mile west of the first blaze.

After realizing the machine was on fire, Willner said, the combine operator began driving back towards the direction of the first fire, hoping to limit the damage and spread.

With the combine, a Case IH Model 7120, already believed to be a total loss, the firefighters focused on extinguishing the fire on the ground.

“We concentrated on the fire itself,” said Willner. “We didn’t want it to reach around where it had already burned.”

Again, firefighters were on the scene for around two hours.

The affected barley field had already been harvested, so no crops were lost in either blaze.

Willner said the cause of both fires was undetermined, though it may have been as simple as a blade making a spark after striking a rock.

The Hodgins family, who own the affected land, later expressed their thanks to firefighters and their neighbours in a Facebook post.

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