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Fire on the mountain keeps firefighters busy

March 28, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Fire on the mountain keeps firefighters busy

SMITHSBURG - Steep, rocky terrain made it difficult for firefighters to battle the forest fire that raged on South Mountain along the northeastern tip of Washington County Saturday, according to the state Department of Natural Resources Forest Service.

The fire, reported shortly before 1 p.m., started in the 13600 block of Edgemont Drive, on the western slope of the mountain, near a railroad crossing, according to DNR spokeswoman Patty Manown Mash.

It was contained at about 6 p.m., Mash said.

Two DNR foresters were staying through the night to make sure the fight didn't reignite, and five DNR employees would be cleaning up the charred area today, she said.

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Firefighters for 12 companies from Washington and Frederick counties, Md., and Franklin County, Pa., fought the wind-stoked blaze, which covered about 40 acres below the High Rock overlook, Mash said.

Unable to get their trucks up the brush-dense mountainside, firefighters had to walk up with their hoses, she said.

Most of the burned land was in the South Mountain Recreation Area, Mash said.

The fire didn't threaten any homes, and area residents were not evacuated, she said.

As of Saturday night, DNR was still investigating the cause, believed to be accidental, Mash said.

Weather conditions on Saturday - windy, warm and dry - were prime for a fire to spread, she said.

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