Blazing buzzard sparks brush fire

-A A +A
By Ben Carlson

A buzzard that became tangled in electric transmission lines burst into flames, fell to the ground and started a large brush fire last Thursday afternoon.

The incident was just the latest among several fires that have bedeviled local firefighters during the area's ongoing drought.

Anderson County Fire Chief Mike Barnes recounted the burning buzzard incident Monday, saying the fire started when the flaming bird landed on the ground near Timber Creek Road.

"The land there is not flat and we had to hike back in there a ways to get to it," said Barnes.

"We couldn't get any trucks back in there. We were in briars over our heads, and when they got burning, the flames would go 6 to 7 feet in the air."

Barnes said the ground is so dry that underground roots burned, making the task of extinguishing the blaze even more difficult.

"That fire was going in three directions at the same time," he said.

Barnes said the fire ban, which was put into place Sept. 3 by order of Judge-Executive Steve Cornish, has been followed "really well" by residents.

"We've had to talk to a few people and ask them to put out their fires, but overall it's been good," he said.

But that doesn't control fires sparked by animals that burst into flames, nor does it mean fires aren't being ignited by other means.

Barnes said his department spent hours last week putting out a 25-30 acre fire near Tracy Road that was sparked when a transmission line was knocked down during the wind storm that ravaged much of Central Kentucky in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

"We were fighting 40 mph winds in that one," Barnes said.

The burning buzzard was a first for Barnes, who said he once heard a story about a squirrel causing a fire after it was electrocuted on a transformer.

"I thought, sure," he said. "But then we had the buzzard fire and now I know these things do happen."

Barnes said residents should heed the burn ban warning, which allows authorities to issue citations and fines for those who burn items anywhere in Anderson County.

"We've been dry so long, even if we had some rain the brush would dry out quickly," he said.