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Large field fire near Brown-Jackson county line - UPDATED 8:30 p.m.
Updated on: 08.08.12

VAN BUREN TWP. -- Shortly after 4 p.m., Van Buren firefighters were called to a field fire that originated with one flaming hay bale in the 8900 block of State Road 135 South, near the Brown-Jackson county line.

4:25 p.m. UPDATE: The Van Buren fire chief has asked for help from all available firefighters in the county. The fire has grown from about one acre to about 30 acres and is moving quickly.

5:15 p.m. Additional fire personnel and apparatus are continuing to arrive to assist. Responders are also working to protect structures near the path of the fire.

5:45 p.m. Fire personnel continue to fight the blaze from several sides. At this point, it has spread into nearby woods. A reporter on the scene says it appears a mobile home has been protected and remains standing, though the property around it has been touched by fire.

6:20 p.m. One property owner in the area is being transferred to EMS with burns, the severity of which have not been reported. Crews are working to distribute water to those working the scene.

7 p.m. According to emergency responder radio traffic, the property owner's injuries were minor burns. Firefighters from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are working to control the path of the fire near the woods, but cannot report that they have it "hooked" yet.

The following Brown County Democrat photos by Sara Clifford were shot around 5 p.m.:

7:25 p.m. UPDATE: The Van Buren fire chief reports that the fire is under control.

8:20 p.m. UPDATE: Van Buren Fire Chief John Ward reports that with the help of more than 50 firefighters from eight departments and the DNR, no structures were lost in the fire, which spanned approximately 1 1/2 square miles.

Van Buren firefighters were dispatched shortly before 4 p.m. when a man baling hay reported a bale on fire. "We had run on this property about 5 weeks ago," Ward said, but firefighters were able to extinguish that fire quickly. "But this time, by the time we were called and with the location he was in, the field was cropped, and it just took off," Ward said.

Shifting wind and tinder-dry ground conditions made matters worse. Brown County has been under a burn ban since June 28 because of high fire danger.

The fire jumped three fence lines and spread into some trees before firefighters could bring it under control, three-and-a-half hours after it started.

Van Buren Township residents also came to help, with a bulldozer to help make a fire break and a commercial water tanker usually used to supply private homes. Area residents also delivered drinking water to firefighters.

Firefighters pulled water for the fire from hydrants near the Brown-Jackson county line, tankers from area fire departments, and what was left in a couple of small ponds after a dry summer. Ward considered an offer from a local pilot to drop 300-gallon water loads from a plane, but the price tag of $1,000 per hour was cost-prohibitive, he said.

No firefighters were injured. One property owner was treated for minor burns.

As of 8 p.m., Ward did not have confirmation on the names of the owners of the affected properties.

"I'd just like to put out a thank-you to all the people who were out here helping, and the businesses and individuals," he stressed. "It is much appreciated."

Van Buren has one of the largest fire protection areas but the smallest volunteer force of any of the county's six departments. 

9:06 p.m. UPDATE: Fire crews are being released from the scene.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Dale Clinton 'Mike' David, 90, Nashville
  Father of Dennis P. David and Mark A. David, both of Nashville

Barbara Ann Frank Sheehan, 71, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
  Former resident of Brown County

Phillip Michael 'Mike' Mathis, 63, Nashville
  Brother of Cathy (Steve) Junken and Melanie (Darian) McBride, both of Nashville

  • August 5
    Brown County for Bernie meeting
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 6
    Nashville Town Council
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 6
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 6
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 School House Lane
  • August 6
    'Jurassic World' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 7
    'Ghostbusters' at the Playhouse
    7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    'Jurassic World' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 8
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • August 8
    Tribute to John Denver at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Donations accepted for Habitat garage sale
    9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Brown County 4-H fairgrounds
  • August 9
    'Jurassic World' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 10
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 11
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • August 11
    Time for inner peace set at local church
    5:30 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 12
    BC Local Emergency Planning Committee
    9 a.m. EMS Building, 53 State Road 46 East
  • August 12
    Blood drive scheduled at Parkview church
    2 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 12
    BC Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. EMS Building, 53 State Road 46 East
  • August 13
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 15
    Rock & mineral club
    6 p.m. Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 15
    TRIAD annual picnic at Parkview church
    11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 15
    Kingdom fest at Nashville church
    1 to 4 p.m. Nashville United Methodist Church, 36 S. Jefferson St.
  • August 18
    Time for inner peace set at local church
    5:30 to 7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • August 23
    Live Baby Boomer music at tavern
    7 to 9 p.m. Pine Room, 51 E. Chestnut St.
  • August 24
    American history DVD set to air at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 24
    American history DVD set to air at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 6
    Read to dogs at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 18
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    4 to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg
  • September 19
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg