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Mountain fire burns for at least 3rd day

August 09, 1999|By DON AINES

NEEDMORE, Pa. - A mountain fire that began sometime last week was still smoldering Sunday in Fulton County, according to a Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry official.

"There's still a lot of stumps and logs in there burning," said Merl Waltz, the district forester in McConnellsburg, Pa. Only forestry firefighters were at the scene Sunday afternoon, but he expected they or local firefighters will be keeping an eye on the blaze for the next few days.

The fire on state forest lands was first reported at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, according to Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. Rescue Chief Buddy Kerns. It's in an area off Boorman Road near the village of Flickerville in Brush Creek Township.

Kerns said the fire was probably started by a lightning strike. Waltz said it could have occurred several days before the fire was reported.

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As of Sunday, the area involved about 50 acres, but Waltz said it had not gotten past a firebreak the firefighters cleared Friday and Saturday. Bulldozers were brought in to clear the break and backfires were set to burn off brush and deadfalls within the perimeter.

Kerns said units from McConnellsburg and Hustontown in Fulton County, Pa.; Waynesboro and St. Thomas in Franklin County, Pa.; Breezewood, Pa., in Bedford County; and Hancock, Md., were called in to assist Needmore. Rain Sunday morning helped douse some of the fire, and the units from outside Fulton County were sent home, he said.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion Saturday and another for a knee injury, Kerns said.

About 15 Bureau of Forestry firefighters specially trained in combating mountains fires were brought in from Blair County, according to Waltz. Two will be patrolling the area this evening to make sure the fire doesn't spread.

"Rocks, steepness and the very dry conditions," Waltz said when asked what kind of obstacles the firefighters faced. "There's a lot of dead trees in there."

Kerns said the Bureau of Forestry will be bringing in more heavy equipment today and he expects the fire will take another two or three days to be completely extinguished.

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