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Firefighters battle 17 grass fires in county

April 2, 2014 News Extra

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Butler County firefighters responded to 17 grass and brush fires Tuesday.

Between 2:30 and 8:30 p.m., the fires ignited across the county.

“It was busy yesterday,” Steve Bicehouse, director of county emergency services, said this morning.

Bicehouse said the warm weather was not the direct cause.

“The temperature has nothing to do with it,” he said.

Bicehouse said the culprit was windy conditions on a dry day.

However, the balmy climate may have been an indirect factor.

Bicehouse said many grass or brush fires result from people burning waste outside. He said people wrongly assume it’s safe to burn because the ground still is saturated with water.

But on a day such as Tuesday, the ground surface is combustible.

“The surface is dry and dead,” Bicehouse said.

Firefighters made repeated runs throughout the day.

Bicehouse, a firefighter for the Evans City Volunteer Fire Department, went on four calls.

Among the bigger grass fires was one in a wooded area along North Washington Road in Concord Township, which was reported to 911 at 2:52 p.m.

The West Sunbury Volunteer Fire Department was assisted by the Unionville, Bruin, North Washington and Marion Township volunteer fire departments.

Crews left at 7:22 p.m.

Another long call involved a field near East Butler Road in East Butler. Crews from East Butler, Herman and Oneida Valley responding to the 3:39 p.m. 911 call cleared the scene at 7:22 p.m.

A third call in Mars resulted in a firefighter being taken by ambulance to UPMC Passavant-Cranberry for heat exhaustion.

Assisting the Adams Area Fire District in responding to the brush fire along Norton Drive were the Callery, Evans City and Wexford volunteer fire departments.

The fire was reported to 911 at 4:21 p.m. Crews left at 7:41 p.m.

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