April 10, 2013
A wildfire in southern Albemarle County has been completely contained, but the Virginia Department of Forestry is continuing to monitor some hot spots and is prepared to tackle anything else that may pop up.
The fire on Spring Valley Road scored 50 acres on Tuesday.
"We saw fairly extreme fire activity, especially when the wind got behind it, and it was climbing the hills," said David Powell, a senior area forester with the forestry department. "So at times, the fire was advancing very rapidly."
Conditions are prime for brush and wildfires in central Virginia, which is why the forestry department is continuing to watch key areas.
"There's extreme burning conditions like we're seeing today and tomorrow, I guess, until the storm front gets here," Powell said.
The high temperatures, wind and humidity all contributed to the spread of Tuesday's fire. Crews had to trek through steep and rocky terrain to keep the fire from hitting any nearby houses. The next day, the work continues so the fire lines hold up.
"We're mainly cutting down trees that have dead branches in them that have caught fire, putting those on the ground so we don't have aerial ignitions that could potentially blow a spark and cross the fire line and create an uncontained part of the fire," Powell said.
The cause of this particular fire is likely a tree that fell on a power line. Forestry officials say trees that have recently fallen down, like those after recent snowstorms, could serve as fuel for future fires -- all depending on the weather conditions.
"This afternoon could be another good chance for fires to ignite and spread rapidly," Powell said.
Despite how charred and dark the grass on Spring Valley Road became Tuesday, it should only take a good rainfall or two to restore the charred land.