Dry, blustery conditions spark several brush fires

Firefighters throughout Michiana have been busy battling brush fires, thanks, in part, to the weather.

Monday night, Osolo Township's Fire Department was called to a wooded area near mile marker 94 on the Indiana Toll Road after a driver noticed smoke.

When they arrived, firefighters quickly put out a call for mutual aid.

The strong winds and dry brush allowed the blaze to burn through grass and trees quickly, making it difficult to contain.

An Indiana State Trooper helped block off the right lane of eastbound traffic on the toll road to ensure no drivers or first responders were put in danger.

After a couple hours of dousing hot spots in water, firefighters left the scene -- only to be called back a couple hours later, when some flames flared up again.

Niles Township firefighters faced the same challenges when responding to a large brush fire shortly after 6 p.m. in Milton Township.

"When our first firefighter arrived on scene, it was very extensive," said Niles Charter Township Fire Chief Gary Brovold.

The city of Niles, Clay Township, Howard Township and Edwardsburg were all called to help fight the fire.

It started in the 1700 block of Ironwood, several feet behind a garage.

The blaze quickly spread, destroying two boats and threatening nearby homes.

"It started to get towards Knollwood," Brovold said. "We actually had some residents back there with rakes and shovels who tried to put the fire out from that end."

Luckily, firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before they damaged any homes.

While the cause of the blaze hasn't officially been determined, Brovold says it appears someone was burning trash nearby -- the worst thing anyone can do in conditions like Monday's.

"It's very dangerous right now," he said. " Everything is ripe right now for burning."

Brovold says many fire departments prohibit burning during dry, windy conditions.

Michiana residents can check with their local fire departments to learn more about what's legal to burn and when.

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