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Enders Lake fire a pesky one PDF Print E-mail

Spontaneous combustion may be cause of another fire early Wednesday

By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican

It may have to be called the fire that wouldn’t quit.
Last week’s Labor Day fire south of Enders Lake just wouldn’t go away. Counting the original call Sept. 3, firefighters from Imperial were on the scene eight times. The last call-back was mid-afternoon Sunday.
Then, about 1 a.m. Wednesday this week, Imperial Volunteer Fire Department members were called to a fire starting in the grass pile at the transfer station south of town.
Cause of the Enders Lake fire was spontaneous combustion in a compost pile north of the Dan and Gloria Marshall home, which then advanced north and east toward the lake.
While he couldn’t be certain  just hours after Wednesday’s call, Fire Chief Nick Schultz said they suspect spontaneous combustion may also have started it, too.
“We suspect that’s the cause but we are still uncertain,” he said mid-morning Wednesday.
The fire moved south from the grass pile and burned about 15 acres of grass, also advancing into an area storing construction-related supplies of Imperial Contracting and owner Ryan Greene.
“It was really blazing for awhile and racing south,” Schultz said.
He called in mutual aid from the Lamar Volunteer Fire Department, which brought an additional quick attack unit and tanker to the scene.
Firefighters were on the scene until 4 a.m., Schultz said.
The grass pile continued to burn after the advancing fire was contained. City employees brought a front-end loader to the scene to berm around the pile and stayed on site for several hours, Schultz said.
Flare-ups plague
firefighters at Enders

A series of flare-ups south of Enders Lake last week kept members of the Imperial department hopping after the initial Labor Day call.
Chief Schultz said those flare-ups resulted in seven call-backs, and were helped by extremely dry conditions and wind. The flare-ups were in the downed tree logs and pine needles. One return call was due to a reigniting of the compost pile, where the fire started.
No damage occurred to three structures close to or in the path of the fire, even though it burned up to and around Ike’s Cabin.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire about 100 feet from the Curtis and Amanda Johnson home. A key there, Schultz said, was keeping the fire from the rows of cedar trees south of the Johnson home.
Volunteer fire departments from Lamar, Wauneta, Grant and Benkelman were called in on the initial call to assist.
An estimated 150 acres burned on both private and Nebraska Game & Parks ground. Enders Lake Recreation Area Supt. Beau Licking estimated 90 percent of the burned acreage is on state ground.
Schultz said he’s hopeful that cooler mid-week weather and some predictions of rain will help keep it from further flare-ups.


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