Blaze In Nelson Keeps Crews Out All-Night

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

April 6, 2005

Firefighters were battling a blaze of 20-30 acres starting Wednesday afternoon, April 6, and continuing into Thursday morning.

"We're probably expecting more," said Incident Commander Mary Warring. "It's very steep terrain. We're not able the get a bulldozer all the way around it--we've got hand-crews working on it now."

Firefighters were using two bulldozers and expecting a third to outline and control the fire.

"The west side of it is under control, but the east-side and head of the fire is not controlled right now," said Warring on Wednesday night.

Officials brought in a helicopter from Roanoke to quiet the fire that is on steep terrain, but after it arrived, teams were unable to use it due to the safety issues of surrounding darkness. Flames were expected to be going through Tuesday morning, when the helicopter could next be used.

The Charlottesville region has had the most fires in Virginia--nearly 20 over the past several months. Officials say most fires start like this one: by people.

"The gentleman who was doing the debris burning said he started burning a little bit after four and it wasn't long after that before the fire got away from him," said Warring. "It wasn't long after that before he knew he couldn't handle it and called 9-1-1."

Debris burning is the leading cause of fires. Officials ask people not to burn material 300 feet from the woods and not before 4pm, through the end of fire season, which is May 1. Also, be cognizant of the weather when burning, especially on high temperature and low humidity windy days like it was on the 6th.

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