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Fire burns 10 to 30 acres of woods

June 09, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A woods fire came within 300 feet of a Morgan County home before being brought under control Wednesday afternoon, according to the director of the county's Office of Emergency Services.

"The flames were about 50 feet over the pine trees. It looked like one of those fires in Yellowstone, California," David Michael said.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the home off Winchester Grade Road near Berkeley Springs after southeast winds that had been pushing the fire began to die down, Michael said.

The fire was reported shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday in a stand of trees less than a mile behind the South Morgan Volunteer Fire Department, Michael said.

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Crews kept the fire from spreading to the home, then used a bulldozer to cut fire breaks on the west side of the fire, he said.

The unidentified homeowners were not staying in the home at the time of the fire, Michael said.

An estimated 10 to 30 acres of wooded area burned, Michael said.

With the exception of the bulldozer driver, who received a slight burn on his arm, Michael said no one was injured in the blaze.

The 90-degree-plus temperatures made the possibility of heat exhaustion one of the biggest concerns for firefighters, Michael said.

More than 40 firefighters from Morgan County and stations in Maryland and Virginia responded to the fire, allowing personnel to take 10 to 15 minute breaks from the fire, Michael said.

"With the high temperatures we have to be careful with heat exhaustion," he said.

Michael said firefighters believe the fire might have been the result of someone burning brush on Tuesday.

"They think maybe the scene was completely cleared and then caught fire (Wednesday)," Michael said.

Firefighters were expected to be at the scene of the fire doing mop-up work until Wednesday night, he said.

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