Firemen battle Monday blazes

The Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. battled two controlled burns that got out of control Monday in the Lovell area.

Lovell fireman Shane Pitt soaks a shed/chicken coop in foam during a fire call to a farm owned by Jay Walker Tuesday on Road 9½, one of two calls the Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. responded to on Tuesday. David Peck photo

According to Captain Bob Mangus the fire department was called to 1558 Road 9½ Monday at 12:21 p.m. – a farm owned by Jay Walker — to tackle a fire that spread from a ditch-burning effort to an old chicken coop/shed building. Firemen soaked the old logs and the surrounding area with foam.

Then at 1:31 p.m. firemen were called to the Five Springs Ranch about four miles down the Crooked Creek Road south of the U.S. 14A causeway east of Lovell.

A controlled burn spread into a marshy cattails area, then jumped from private land to National Park Service lands, which activated a U.S. Forest Service hot shot crew and Bureau of Land Management personnel, Mangus said.

The main LVFD crew worked for about four hours and maintained a presence at the site until around 10 p.m. Monday, Mangus said, often hauling water to the site. Mop-up continued on Tuesday, he said.

“It burned about 14 or 15 acres of private land and about the same on National Park Service land,” Mangus said. “We had it knocked down and had a perimeter around it. They cut trees and performed mop-up work.”

Mangus said the fire department works with federal agencies through a mutual aid operating plan.

A relatively dry spring has led to 49 fire calls through Tuesday, Mangus said, adding that the department responded to 21 fires in March alone, compared to just four in March a year ago during the wet spring.

By David Peck