Fire broke out on the Skip Schaller farm approximately two miles south of Highway 60 at the Newton County line around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Called to the scene was the Monett city and rural departments, Pierce City city and rural departments, Freistatt, Stark City and the East Newton Area (Granby) Fire Association. Monett Fire Chief Tom Jones served as incident commander, directing trucks to strategic locations. The fire started around Wallaby Road and moved northwest in a whipping wind. Firefighters were able to hold the line at Jute Road on the north edge. Jones said if the fire had crossed Jute Road, a line of timber and nearby poultry houses would have been in danger. At top, firefighting vehicles drove through the blackened ground to spray water on trees and hot spots. At center, owner Skip Schaller pointed toward the Conservation Department land at the southwest corner, the vicinity from which the fire traveled. Schaller said he had 30 head of cattle in the burning field, several of which were pregnant. Schaller's neighbors arrived on the scene and began moving the cattle before he arrived. "My neighbors are great," he said. An estimated 100 acres burned by the time firefighters stopped the blaze. At bottom, firefighters repeatedly sprayed down trees and smoldering areas to stop the fire from rekindling. Jones credited the various departments' brush trucks with the resources to stop the fire. Tankers from several departments resupplied the brush trucks and some even drove into the burned area to spray quantities of water onto the hotter areas.
[Times Photos by Murray Bishoff]