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Dry weather helps fuel brush fures in W.Va.

July 24, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A brush fire in a remote area of western Berkeley County rekindled Monday after burning about two acres Saturday evening, according to Back Creek Valley Volunteer Fire Department chief Jay Walling.

The West Virginia Division of Forestry was investigating the blaze, Walling said. The fire burned about another acre or so Monday when piles of brush in the Avalon subdivision off Haymaker Road ignited again about 3:30 p.m., Walling said.

Firefighters initially responded about 8 p.m. Saturday and didn't leave the scene until about 1 a.m. Sunday, Walling said. Firefighters from Berkeley County's other volunteer companies stationed in Bedington, Baker Heights, Inwood (South Berkeley) and Hedgesville, W.Va., and the Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also responded to the blaze.

Walling believes the fire began as a controlled burn, but then was left unattended. A lack of available water forced crews to shuttle it to the rural area near Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area and Walling said foam also was used to put out the fire.

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"It's extremely dry. If people decide to burn, they really need to keep an eye on it," Walling said.

About the same time as the Back Creek Valley fire, firefighters from Baker Heights and Bedington volunteer fire departments responded to a grass fire off Hershey Court, Baker Heights Assistant Chief Travis Schroades said.

The fire damaged a deck of one home and aluminum siding on another as it burned through five lawns in Opequon Meadows subdivision before it was put out. No one was injured.

The fire also was under investigation by the Division of Forestry, Shroades said.

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