Wind spreads brush fires out of control

Warm temperatures and a windy afternoon made for a dangerous combination in the Quad Cities Thursday. Across the area, several brush fires spread out of control, and officials need the public’s help to prevent more.

“Definitely, your wind is your worst enemy,” said Donahue Fire Chief Dave Coon.

On Interstate 80 in Bettendorf, a maintenance worker’s controlled burn quickly spread nearly three-quarters of a mile from its original spot. Smoke from the fire briefly closed one lane of I-80, and golfers were evacuated from part of the course at nearby Hidden Hills Golf Course.

Firefighters said that once the wind starts blowing, there’s no telling how far fire can spread. In Donahue, Iowa, another brush fire spread to the owner’s barn.

“In the spring, oftentimes, people burn off their excess brush and grass to create better growth for the next year’s grass, and the wind just happened to get a hold of it today and pushed it out of control,” said Coon.

Coon said it takes just a few easy steps to make sure your burn doesn’t require their assistance.

“Keep a very good eye on the wind. You shouldn’t burn if the wind’s over five miles an hour…  You just have to be very careful. Back burn if you can, burn against the wind, make fire breaks, things of that nature,” said Coon.

No injuries were reported from any of Thursday’s fire.

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