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Winds fuel fire that burns hundreds of southern Illinois acres

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(WSIL) -- A series of fires kept fire crews busy on Wednesday.

One of those fast moving fires in rural Gallatin County scorched hundreds of acres and took four hours to contain.

The Equality Fire Department says they're grateful for the mutual aid they had on hand.

"Mutual aid, we rely on it pretty big on these type of fires."

Equality Fire Chief, Cole Baker, says his phone began to ring Wednesday afternoon.

"I actually started receiving calls and texts on my personal phone about a large fire south of town... I could see the smoke from, all the way from the crossroads of one and thirteen. I called over dispatch, asked them if they had any reports of a controlled burn, they advised they did not, so we just told them to go ahead and send out the fire department."

Because of the gusty winds, and unknown terrain, Chief Baker decided to call for help.

"Strong winds out of the south pushing the fire and the hard terrain of the old coal mining ground, we just went ahead and started calling out other departments for mutual aid."

According to Baker, the fire burned nearly 250 acres, warranting help from several nearby departments, including Ridgeway, Shawneetown, Harrisburg and more.

"You know, a lot of us, around in this area, we're all volunteer departments, everybody has their own jobs, harvest is going on, you know, staffing is kind of low."

The Equality Fire Department says without the mutual aid, the fire may have spread to nearby homes that were less than a half mile away.

John Ross

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