Two-acre Bartlett fire a sign of drought season’s dangers
FROM Staff Reports July 19, 2012 3:22PM
Photo shows the damage from a grass fire Tuesday in the 1300 block of Spaulding Road in Bartlett. Fire officials are warning people about the dangers of the extreme drought in the area and urging caution when disposing of things like lit cigarettes and barbecue coals. Photo courtesy of Bartlett Fire Protection District.
Updated: August 21, 2012 6:29AM
BARTLETT — A grass fire that turned two acres of back yard into blackened earth this week should be seen as a warning to everyone to be careful of flame in a time when drought has turned much of the area’s bushes and grassland into a wildfire waiting to happen, Bartlett Fire Chief Michael Falese warns.
The fire broke out about 3:10 p.m. Tuesday behind townhomes at 13612 Spaulding Road. Assistant Fire Chief Michael Figolah said a strong wind pushed the flames through the tinder-dry grass and weeds across several backyards until the flames were stopped along the shore of a retention pond.
Firefighters arrived in a few minutes and had the flames under control within about 10 minutes, Figolah said.
Exactly what started Wednesday’s fire is unknown, firefighters said, but could have been something like a discarded cigarette butt.
“Obviously, our area is in extreme drought,” Falese said. “The dryness combined with high heat conditions have made outside areas highly susceptible to fire. Bartlett and surrounding areas are blessed with hundreds of acres of open space, with many of those spaces containing high grasses.
“We caution everyone to use extreme care when disposing of cigarettes or barbecue fires, and remind that no open burning is permitted” in Bartlett, the chief said.
Open burning also is illegal in most other Fox Valley cities and towns.
Careless use of flame in such dry weather can affect even buildings. A burning cigarette butt thrown into mulch along the outside wall of the Community Thrift Store in East Dundee on June 28 was blamed for starting a fire that caused heavy smoke and water damage to the store.