The windy weather of spring has not come with much rain, which is causing brush fires to spread several acres across Central Virginia on Wednesday.
Two bush fires have been reported yesterday. The first brush fire started in Amherst County. Bill Perry with the Department of Forestry says it has burned nearly 45 acres of land. The Monelison Volunteer Fire Dept. said the fire was first reported in the 900 block of Cedar Gate Road around 12:34 p.m. Crews worked hours to contain it and had to use a bulldozer to dig holes around the hot spots to keep the flames from jumping.
“The wind, the high temperature and the low humidity is what drives the fire spread. And then fuel type being it was recently harvested and had a lot of dry material and brush in there too. So that made it more difficult for suppression efforts,” said Perry.
While officials don’t know what caused the first fire to start, they do know what caused the second one down in Lynchberg, where a vehicle went up in flames in the 400 block of Odd Fellows Road. Crews say those flames spread from the vehicle across nearly two acres of land.
Mike Reeves, the battalion chief on scene, credited the weather for this spread too.
“This time of year, it is dryer. Due to the change in weather, we frequently get wind like we’ve got now. Even if it rains today, or it were to rain this morning, it could still be dry. Grass that looks green and healthy, can still burn and once it starts, just from a little spark like a cigarette or anything. The wind can push it. The stronger the wind is blowing, the faster it will move,” said Reeves.
Both crews urge people all over Virginia to be safe, and to be careful with any fires while these severe winds are in effect.