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Fire crews battle brush fires all over Quad Cities area

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The crackling of flames could be heard in fields Monday all over the area. For the Eldridge Fire Department, their day starts along a ditch near Utica Ridge Road. It wouldn't be long until Fire Chief Tyler Schmidt gets a call for a growing fire near Mt. Joy.

Related: Field fires break out across the Quad Cities area

"Threatening structures with the wind. It was obviously moving pretty fast and we were stretched thin with resources at the other end and we had to call numerous departments to help us," Schmidt said.

Schmidt says a burn pile spread quickly, ripping through nearly three miles of field. He says it took over two hours to control, with a home in its path.

"It could've been very bad because this building was occupied at the time. We had to evacuate people from this building. We concentrated on protecting the exposures," Schmidt said.

To the north, fire crews in Dewitt respond to a fire of their own that charred parts of a 60 acre corn field.

"A lot of tankers and brush units to get ahead of it and cut it off before it got to the standing corn," Dewitt 1st Asst. Fire Chief John Davison said.

Schmidt says the extra dry conditions and the gusty winds created a perfect storm, a reason to ask everyone to be more careful.

"If you think you had it out, make sure you have it out with water because it can pick up and start even if you think it's completely out. Even charcoal grills, anything, any kind of fire," Schmidt said.

He hopes more people keep a closer eye out for the burn warnings to keep days like this to a minimum.

Schmidt also says that until the area gets a good amount of rain, it's best to avoid any sort of burning because if the winds pick up any part of the flames, it can spread quickly.

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