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Dry Weather, Wind Play Havoc in Containing Harshbarger Field Fire

A fire in a combine corn head bearing caused a field fire at the Curt Harshbarger home on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 7. (Photo by Stephanie Wierman)

By Doris Elmore
Staff Writer

A field fire at the home of Curt Harshbarger, north of Atwood on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 7, could be seen for miles around. Harshbarger said a bearing in the combine corn head that connects to the feeder house caught on fire. He was in the process of putting out the fire when he noticed it had also caught the corn field on fire. He said he could not see the fire at first because of the combine.

Due to the extremely dry weather and wind, the fire spread quickly. The Atwood Fire Department responded immediately to Curt’s 911 call, and called for assistance from Arthur. The wind played havoc for the fire departments due to shifting directions.

The fire jumped the road to a Schable field, but due to the keen eye of an Arthur fireman, it was put out immediately.

Friends/farmers ready to assist one another played a big part in containing the fire. Ground working equipment from Jack & Gary Appleby, Bill Schable, Steve Honn and Schable Farms (operated by Rob Litwiler), were on the scene as soon as possible and plowed a fire break. This helped to stop the spread of the fire.

In a phone conversation with Curt on Saturday, Oct. 10, he said he took a drone picture to get a better idea of the amount of corn field that burned. He said it amounted to approximately 33 acres. That included some adjoining ground of Gary Kuhns. No estimate of damage was available at this time.

A special thanks to the Atwood & Arthur Fire Departments, Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross and several friends who came to assist.

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