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Tractor malfunction likely cause of blaze that charred four acres in Cornelius

by: COURTESY PHOTO: CORNELIUS FIRE DEPARTMENT - Six brush rigs and 24 firefighters from four districts came put out a Cornelius field fire last week before it spread any farther.Four fire departments came together last Thursday, Aug. 22, to extinguish a blazing wheat field three miles south of Cornelius.

On Southwest Iowa Hill Road near Southwest Gnos Road, about 24 firefighters responded with six brush rigs to the column of smoke rising from a cut wheat field fire spreading east.

While a local farmer flailed the field, a bearing in his tractor seized up, causing overheating and sparks and likely igniting the blaze that charred about four acres, officials said.

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Gaston Fire District and Washington County Fire District assisted the Cornelius Fire Department. It took responders about 20 minutes to extinguish the flames. The fire crew stayed on scene for about an hour to ensure no further hot spots ignited.

There were no injuries, and no structures were threatened. Early this week western Washington County is in a "high fire danger" situation.  

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