Updated Thu, Mar 13, 2014 11:43 am
What started as the burning of a small bag of old papers earlier this week resulted in the torching of around eight acres of land that required four fire departments to help quell.
At around 4 p.m. Tuesday, York Twp. Fire Department received a call of a brush fire at 12946 Route 691. Upon arrival, Assistant Chief Wayne Breeze said the fire was already quickly advancing through the dry grass and open field. The blaze took out some of the drier pine trees on the land and spread through between 7-8 acres.
York Twp. asked for additional manpower and water trucks and fire departments from The Plains, Nelsonville and Waterloo Twp. answered the call.
Breeze told The Messenger that it was nearly an hour before the fire was contained and that firefighters stayed on scene for another hour and a half taking down hotspots.
The assistant chief explained that firefighters battled the brush fire by getting ahead of the flames and raking the ground to the bare dirt. He said a nearby high wall with about a 100-foot drop helped to corral the fire as well. Firefighters used UTVs, gators and other all-terrain vehicles to reach the fire and also walked through the forest areas with portable five-gallon water packs to continue the fight.
According to Breeze, the fire began when the homeowner was burning a small bag of miscellaneous papers when the wind caught the debris and carried the fire to the nearby field.
Of the estimated eight acres that was burned, around three acres belonged to Wayne National Forest. Officials from the forest were on scene as well.
No charges have been filed and Gary Chancey, spokesman for Wayne National Forest, said Thursday that the incident is still under investigation.
Brush fire season starts in March and lasts through May. Burning is not allowed between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the season.
Breeze advised caution — especially on windy days — when burning and said that the act should take place in a controlled environment and in a fire pit or burn barrel.