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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 »

Joyce Reskin, 99, Nashville
  Mother of Laurie Embry of Nashville

Alva L. Miller, 81, Columbus
  Father of Marsha Ott and Karen Kincer, both of Nineveh

Alice M. Stines, 81, Taylorsville
  Sister of Leon Thickstun and Joan Dewar, both of Nashville

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    Bingo
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  • October 31
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    6 to 9 p.m. Nashville
  • October 31
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  • October 31
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  • October 31
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    6 to 8 p.m. Brown County Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • November 1
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    4 to 7 p.m. Christiansburg United Methodist Church, 7372 S. Christianburg Road
  • November 1
    Euchre
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    9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown County Community Church, 2370 Main St.
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  • November 1
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    10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Goshen Community Church, 2798 Gatesville Road, Bean Blossom
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    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
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  • November 6
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    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
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    10 a.m. BC Parks & Rec. Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
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    6:30 p.m. Helmsburg Elementary School, 5378 Helmsburg School Road
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    7:15 a.m. Artists Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • November 7
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  • November 8
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    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • November 8
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    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • November 8
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 8
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    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • November 11
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    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
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    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
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    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • November 15
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • November 15
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    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • November 18
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  • November 19
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    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
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