Philip Volunteer Fire Department activity so far
by Del Bartels
The 2006 summer fire season has been a busy one for the Philip Volunteer Fire Department.
The department has been called to respond to several vehicle accidents. It has been mopping up one fire, only to be immediately called to another. It has been asked by neighboring departments to help in their jurisdictions, and sometimes it cannot respond because it is has no available trucks. The same dry lightning storm may causes multiple fires, yet the department labels it as one incident and puts them out "on the move."
The PVFD is comprised of trained people who are willing to train new members and keep themselves up on techniques, teamwork and equipment. Yet, these volunteers acknowledge the employers who give them the freedom to respond to the fire whistle ... to landowners who bring in sprayer trucks, tanks, and food and drinking water ... and to the county for use of its equipment and manpower.
The City of Philip pays for electricity and water, and for some of the insurance for the fire station. The fire department pays for the rest of its insurance. "The better equipped and trained the local fire department is, the lower everyone else's fire insurance is," noted Assistant Fire Chief Roger Williams.
The following call record times are rounded, the acreage is estimated, and the exact locations are purposefully generalized. Larger fires require men to stand watch afterward if the fire reignites. The Milesville fire department also responds to those fires close to it.
The season began on March 6th when the Kadoka department asked for aid in containing a fire that destroyed two buildings on its main street. Two PVFD trucks and five men responded at 1:00 a.m. and returned home at 4:00 a.m. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
On March 30th at 4:00 p.m., the whistle blew for a machinery spark-caused fire six miles north of the Cheyenne School. Three trucks and six men aided the Milesville Dept. to put out the estimated three bales of ground hay. Winds from the northwest were 35-40 m.p.h.
April 4, 3:30 p.m. - 3 acres burned a mile east of Philip because a weed-burning project got out of control; 2 trucks, 4 men.
June 6, 4:00 p.m. - 10 acres, 22 miles north of Philip caused by sparks from haying equipment; 5 trucks, 10 men.
June 13, 3:00 p.m. - 1/2 acre, 7 miles north of Philip, tractor equipment caught a power line; 3 trucks, 6 men.
June 14, 7:00 p.m. - 1 acre fire and a 5 acre fire, lightning-caused, 12 miles north of Philip; 5 trucks, 11 men.
June 28, 8:00 p.m. - 12-foot-square patch burned due to fireworks in north part of Philip; 2 trucks, 4 men actually fought fire, but 6 trucks and 12 men responded since it could have endangered people and buildings.
July 2, 3:30 p.m. - aided Faith, Enning and Howes Corner with an 80 acre fire 75 north of Philip caused by combine; 3 trucks, 5 men.
July 7, 3:15 p.m. - lightning fire 10 miles north of Philip; 4 trucks, 8 men - rain put out fire before it got started.
July 13, 5:20 a.m. - aided Kadoka and Long Valley fighting a 100 acre fire caused by lightning; 2 trucks, 4 men.
July 13, 1:00 p.m. - over 500 acres burned due to lightning 10 miles west of Milesville - Philip, Milesville, Wall, Dupree responded - most work was done by 8:50; 6 fire trucks, 2 sprayer trucks, 1 Suburban, 20 men.
July 14, 2:00 p.m. - 30 more acres from rekindled fire: 2 trucks, 4 men.
July 17, 6:00 p.m. - 10 acres at 16 miles east and 4 miles north of Philip, start unknown; 4 trucks, 8 men.
July 17, 6:15 p.m. - 710 acres burned 45 northwest of Philip because of fireworks, 12 departments responded, fire mopped up around 11:30 p.m.; 10 vehicles, 20 men.
July 18, 11:00 a.m. - previous fire rekindled to burn mostly within earlier perimeter; 6 trucks, 11 men.
July 20, 1:10 a.m. - 1 acre 14 miles west of Philip because of lightning, 4 trucks, 8 men responded, rain helped.
July 26, 8:45 p.m. - aided Kadoka on Chamberlain Pass on both sides of I-90 with 480 acre fire; 6 trucks, 12 men.
July 29, 3:45 p.m. - 20 acres and large semi-truck load of hay caused by spark 5 miles south of Philip; 7 vehicles, 18 men - traffic regulated by law enforcement.
August 3, 3:30 p.m. - 30 acres total in several fires 8 to 13 miles east of Milesville started by lightning; 10 vehicles, 20 men.
August 4, 12:15 p.m. to 6:10 a.m. - 200 acres 30 miles north of Philip started by lightning; 12 vehicles, 24 men - trucks could not get close because of terrain, thus required shovel work.
August 5, 8:45 a.m. - aided other departments with 4,400 acre fire started by lightning south of Belvidere; 1 truck, 2 men.
August 5, 12:30 p.m. - 215 acres by lightning 28 miles north of Philip; 8 trucks, 15 men.
August 5, 5:00 p.m. - 65 acres 25 miles north and 18 east of Philip due to lightning; 6 trucks, 15 men.
August 5, 7:15 p.m. - 30 acres started by a cigarette 47 miles northwest of Philip; 8 vehicles, 20 men.
August 5, 2:30 p.m. - aided other departments at the large Enning fire; 1 truck, 3 men.
August 6, 2:45 p.m. - 50 acres due to lightning 47 miles northwest of Philip; 2 trucks, 4 men.
August 7, 12:45 a.m. - aided Wall dept. south of Quinn in cigarette-caused 200 acre fire; 3 trucks, 5 men.
August 8, 4:15 p.m. - 1 acre by lightning 5 miles east of Philip; 5 trucks, 12 men.
August 8, 6:15 p.m. - 1 acre caused by lightning 9 miles southeast of Philip; 6 trucks, 12 men - required chainsaws to down burning trees.
August 9, 6:15 p.m. - lightning sparked a 40-acre burn 47 miles northwest of Philip; 7 trucks, 12 men.
August 12, 11:30 a.m. - three lightning-caused fires totaling 90 acres 11 miles northeast of Philip; 8 vehicles, 18 men.
August 13, 10:45 p.m. - unknown start 1/4 acre; 5 trucks and 9 men responded, rain and quick response required only one truck to spray water.
August 14, 8:00 p.m. - lightning fire of 12 acres south of Cottonwood; 5 trucks, 10 men.
August 15, 10:30 a.m. - aided Kadoka with rekindled lightning fire; 1 truck, 3 men.
August 15, 5:30 p.m. - 200 acre lightning fire 45 miles northwest of Philip; 8 trucks, 15 men - Philip and Milesville called in a strike team from Mobridge with 6 brush trucks and one water tanker.
August 20, 12:00 noon - 2 acres burned just west of Philip from no apparent cause; 4 trucks, 8 men.
And the hot, dry weather continues.