2012-07-10 / Front Page

Friday Fire Consumes 27 Acres Inside McCormick’s Creek Park

Staff Report


Aerial still courtesy of WTHR Channel 13, Indianapolis. Aerial still courtesy of WTHR Channel 13, Indianapolis. A wildfire at McCormick’s Creek State Park on Friday afternoon quickly torched 27 acres before firefighters brought it under control.

Smoke from the fire, just east of Spencer, could be seen for miles.

At the height of the fire, flames were reportedly shooting 20 to 25 feet into the air, but Department of Natural Resources firefighters said it could have been much worse.

“The fact that we had no or limited wind today absolutely did help us out,” Indiana DNR Assistant Fire Coordinator Drew Daley told Indianapolis-based WRTV 6 News. “If we had coupled the fuel moisture and the temperature today with any winds, it would have been a different story here.”

Daily once served as assistant property manager at McCormick’s Creek State Park.

The fire, first reported to Owen County Security Center Dispatch at 3:00 p.m., consumed a 27-acre field (former Rally Campground area) comprised of mostly sage brush and several small trees. No structures were consumed during the fire.


Drew Daily, Indiana DNR Assistant Fire Coordinator, and Owen Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Wallace (left) ready at the fire staging area inside McCormick’s Creek State Park on Friday afternoon. 
(Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Drew Daily, Indiana DNR Assistant Fire Coordinator, and Owen Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Wallace (left) ready at the fire staging area inside McCormick’s Creek State Park on Friday afternoon. (Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Several local and area volunteer fire departments and law enforcement agencies responded, working in 20-minute shifts and using controlled burns to keep the wildfire from spreading into the heavily wooded areas.

According to Indiana Conservation Officer Chris Springstun, the cause of the fire is still unknown. Owen County is currently under a county-wide burn-ban and Indiana Conservation officers encourage the public to call 911 and report large fires or smoke such as today’s incident. Fires can be started for several reasons and Indiana Conservation Officer’s want to remind the public how vulnerable the area is to fires.


Indiana DNR Assistant Fire Coordinator Drew Daily makes his way to the scene of a fire inside McCormick’s Creek State Park. Daily once served as an assistant property manager at MCSP. An estimated 27 acres were damaged in the Friday afternoon fire. 
(Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Indiana DNR Assistant Fire Coordinator Drew Daily makes his way to the scene of a fire inside McCormick’s Creek State Park. Daily once served as an assistant property manager at MCSP. An estimated 27 acres were damaged in the Friday afternoon fire. (Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Several VFDs and law enforcement agencies were dispatched to the call, including the Gosport VFD, Owen Valley VFD, Indiana DNR, Stinesville VFD, Owen County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Conservation Officers, and the Owen County EMS.

The DNR is still investigating the cause of the fire, and it is looking at whether a large mower could have sparked it.

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