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Two Berkeley County woods fires put out

no buildings damaged

April 08, 2010

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Two fires in wooded areas of Berkeley County were put out Tuesday afternoon before any structures could be damaged amid "critical" fire weather conditions.

The causes of both fires in the 2900 block of Charles Town Road east of Martinsburg and in Round Top Estates subdivision near Gerrardstown, W.Va., were being investigated, officials said.

The fires were reported a little more than two hours after the National Weather Service issued a "red flag" warning until 7 p.m. Wednesday for eastern West Virginia and portions of northern and central Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

A red flag warning means critical fire conditions exist or soon will, according to the weather service.

"Open burning of any time is considered very hazardous at this time of year," the weather service said in the warning, which advised people to take precaution when operating machinery outdoors.

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The wood fire in Round Top off Buck Hill Road burned a little more than an acre, according to South Berkeley Volunteer Fire Co. Assistant Chief P.J. Burroughs.

Considering reports of much larger fires elsewhere and relatively dry weather conditions recently, Burroughs said he feels Berkeley County has been fortunate so far this spring.

Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department Chief Marty Roberts said about a quarter-acre burned in the vicinity of the Martinsburg VA Center Federal Credit Union near the 7-Eleven convenience store.

Brush that had been previously cut and laid to rot was ignited and generated smoky conditions, Roberts said.

-- Matthew Umstead

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