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Firefighters protect structures as an SUV which sparked a grass fire burns Saturday. The fire occurred near Union Valley. (Photo by Randy Mitchell)

Ada Evening News

UNION VALLEY — Dry conditions and gusty winds kept firefighters busy fighting grass fires over the weekend.

Union Valley firefighters responded to a grass fire Saturday at a farm on County Road 1600 just west of State Highway 99 about four miles south of Ada.

Union Valley Fire Chief Mike Carrell said the fire started when a person was driving through a field looking for a place to build a new home and her vehicle’s catalytic converter sparked a fire in dry grass.

“She looked at the mirror and saw there was fire so she took out of there, went to the barn and saw her car was on fire as well,” Carrell said. “They tried to get a fire extinguisher, but it was too much for a fire extinguisher so they called 911.”

The vehicle, a newer model Nissan SUV, was totally engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. The grass fire threatened livestock, homes and barns. Firefighters from Ada, Stonewall, Fittstown, Lula and Homer responded to assist Union Valley.

Firefighters were able to keep the blaze from reaching surrounding structures and livestock. Carrell estimated 60 to 70 acres of land were charred by the blaze.

On Sunday, firefighters in Lula were called to a grass fire sparked by a vacant house which had burned. Pontotoc County Emergency Management Director Chad Letellier said the house had been vacant for years and officials are not sure how the fire started.

Letellier said with tall dry grass and wind gusts up to 30 miles per, it could have been much worse. Firefighters were able to contain the fire before it reached tall grass.

“It burned maybe five acres,” Letellier said. “It ended up being pretty small considering what it could have been yesterday. The wind was out just the right direction to keep it out of the really tall stuff.”

Firefighters from Union Valley and Stonewall assisted Lula with the fire.

“They got it knocked down really fast,” Letellier said.

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