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Barbecue Grill Fire Spreads To 3 Backyards In Zion

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ZION, Ill. (CBS) — In Zion, the dry weather turned what should have been a small fire into a spreading inferno last evening.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the fire began in a barbecue grill in a home in the 900 block of Countrywood Drive in Zion. Dry, hot winds propelled the flames, spreading the fire to the deck, the home behind it, and the entire backyard.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

The fire proceeded to spread into three neighboring yards, Zion firefighters said.

Fire crews responded around 4 p.m. Monday, and Zion Fire Battalion Chief Eric Troy says it could have been worse.

“We were very fortunate that this instance did not become a whole block fire,” Troy said in a news release.

It took 25 firefighters about an hour to put out the blaze, the release said. Crews had to work around backyard fences and stretch several hose lines across a 150-foot distance — a challenging feat.

No one was hurt, although the porch where the fire started and the home’s backyard turf were both a total loss, the release said. The homeowner thinks the grill on the porch contributed to the fire, though an official cause has not yet been determined.

Large portions of lawns of two homes north of the fire also burned, as well as some grass at a home west of the blaze, the release said. Fencing between the yards was also damages, and the home where the fire started also sustained damage to its exterior.

Officials are warning residents that using open flame outdoors during these severely dry conditions can be extremely hazardous, the release said.

“Incidents such as this one are a prime example of just how fast a small fire can become significant, especially with our current lack of moisture,” Troy said in the release.

The northern part of Lake County that includes Zion was upgraded to “severe drought” levels Thursday, and needs between 9 and 12 inches to return to normal moisture levels, according to the National Weather Service. The same drought is plaguing farmers across Illinois and throughout the nation’s midsection.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)