UPDATE: 80 acres scorched in southern E.C. County

Published: Apr. 30, 2018 at 4:03 PM CDT
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Just after 3 p.m. Monday, Kris Murphy noticed something was not right. So, she called one of her neighbors.

"I said 'There's a lot of sirens and there's some smoke. I think something's up,'” she said to WEAU 13 News on Monday. “Then, my neighbor – one of my neighbors – called me and said 'Look out your window.'"

That's when she saw the flames of a quickly-growing fire, which came at a tough hour of the day.

"The 3 o'clock hour, you're kind of shift change, where people are just getting ready to leave work,” Nate Murphy, public information officer, for Township Fire, said to WEAU 13 News on Monday. “So once all the units got here, it was a little easier."

Add to that, a strong wind and dry turf, which moved the fire north from its original location along birch road, heading for Kris Murphy's home.

Christopher and Mary Pica-Anderson came to help their neighbor.

"When you live out here, you are just more aware of that – that you know, the fire department just isn't right there behind you,” Mary Pica-Anderson said to WEAU 13 News on Monday. “So, you are more aware of the dry conditions. Don't start a bonfire. Don't burn the barrels, you know. I think we're probably more careful because of that."

At least nine fire departments were called out to tackle the fire and the Wisconsin DNR took to the air, dumping a retardant to help stop the spread north.

The fire scorched a patch of land a mile long and an eighth of a mile wide – roughly 80 acres.

"When you have a fire like this, you just try to contain as best you can,” Tyler Esh, public information officer for Pleasant Valley Fire said to WEAU 13 News on Monday. “Make sure that any structures are protected the best of your ability."

The fire was marked controlled just before 7 p.m. Esh said crews would still be out to put out any hot spots. An official cause for the fire has not been determined, but Nate Murphy with Township Fire said he’s unsure if they'll ever know what started it.

One structure was destroyed and five houses were saved – including Kris Murphy's, who was counting blessings with those who helped her.

"Wonderful group of people this community is. I'm very grateful for that," she said.

Strong winds and dry conditions have helped fuel a grass fire in southern Eau Claire County that many crews are still trying to put out.

The fire is along County Highway F, north of the intersection with Birch Road. Charred ground could be seen south of Birch Road, but it appears that it has jumped Birch and is moving to the north.

No structures appear to be threatened, as it’s moving through open field and hitting some tree lines as it moves.

Right now the wind is strong and is coming from the south, with gusts around 30 to 35 mph. That, along with roughly two weeks of dry weather is making this fire continue to burn.

Eau Claire county Sheriff’s Department and the state DNR are also on scene with many Township crews.

We’ll continue to report on this fire as it develops.

EAU CLAIRE COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU)--Multiple fire departments are responding to a grass fire along County Road F, in Eau Claire County.

The fire is near the intersection with Birch Road. Our crew on scene says the fire appears to have jumped Birch Road.

We'll have more information on air and online as we get it.

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