Janesville crews battle grass fire in rural Black Hawk County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Janesville crews battle grass fire in rural Black Hawk County


Janesville and Cedar Falls crews spent several hours Tuesday afternoon battling a grassfire near a rural Black Hawk County home.

"The sheriff had to call me on my cell phone -- I was over at my son's house. So I came home real quick. But I didn't have any idea it was this bad!" said homeowner Karen Aschenbrenner.

Crews say, it's a miracle Karen and Jim Aschenbrenner's home was untouched by the fire. No one was home when something ignited in the grass just west of their house, wrapped around the perimeter of the property, and then lit up a machine shed across the driveway.

"Everybody's okay. That's all that matters," said Janesville Assistant Fire Chief Tim West.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze. But there were times when it seemed the fire would spread even farther. As dry as it is, the area around the property is essentially a field full of kindling.

"It has been a month since it rained. It's extremely dry out there so people need to watch when they're burning their burn piles, they need to tend it," said West.

Although the heat is not as extreme as last week, it's still dangerous for crews fighting the fire. That's why Janesville first responders stayed at the scene all afternoon, monitoring their conditions and making sure they stayed hydrated.

"Just as much water as they can get in their system," West noted.

The fire had the best possible ending -- no injuries, and very little property damage. But chances are, it won't be the last one crews face in the coming days and weeks.

"Hope this is the last of them," West said. "But until we get rain we'll probably be working the grass fires."

Both Waterloo and Cedar Falls fire chiefs announced burn bans shortly after the fire.  Those will remain in place until a significant amount of rain falls in the area.

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