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Cause of W.Va. wildfire still under investigation

November 29, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

The West Virginia Division of Forestry on Monday was leading an investigation into the cause of a wildfire Sunday in the Shannondale area that burned 100 to 150 acres, a fire official said Monday.

The fire occurred in the Shannondale Springs public hunting area. It is unclear if hunting activity contributed to the fire, said Scott Knill, chief of Blue Ridge Mountain Volunteer Fire Co.

Fire and rescue crews from three states worked Sunday to douse the blaze, which occurred near the Appalachian Trail.

Firetrucks could not get close enough to the fire, so crews used portable water packs and soil to smother the flames, fire officials said.

All-terrain vehicles ferried firefighters to the scene, and all but one section had been put out by 5 p.m. Sunday, officials said.

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On Monday, about 35 firefighters returned to the area to put out "hot spots" that flared up, Knill said.

Excavating equipment was brought in to clear paths to the fire scenes and a Gettysburg, Pa., helicopter crew aided the effort by dropping 100-gallon buckets of water on the fire, officials said.

Emergency crews did not evacuate area residents because the nearest home was at least 400 yards away.

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