Local News

Recent Wildfires Have Area Fire Officials On Alert

Posted March 26, 2004

— A warm sunny day was anything but relaxing for area firefighters Thursday.

For the third time in two days, wildfires consumed dry, brittle land in our area. Firefighters wondered if it was a sign of things to come.

The recent warm, dry air has created a perfect breeding ground for wild fires.

Thursday's fire in Sampson County scorched more than 150 acres.

An aerial assault to put out the fire, which was led by a spotter plane, included a CL-215 water tanker and a helicopter water bomber. The aircraft made use of nearby ponds and lakes for their mission.

Earlier Thursday, workers in Warren County sparked a fire when they tried to burn brush and tree limbs.

"All the devil broke lose; it jumped everywehre," worker Tinsley Hockaday said. "The wind got us."

Outdoor burning is banned in most cities. Counties require a permit.

But, more than a permit, officials said responsible outdoor burning requires common sense.

"Early in the morning is a good time to burn, and later in the evening," "Warren County Fire Marshal David Ayscue said. "There's dew in the morning, and it's cool in the evening, as well, so it's a win-win if they wait."

Ayscue said high winds are the biggest enemy when burning outdoors.

"We've had some high winds," he said, "and throughout the years here, it burns leaves and things but also got into some homes, and it puts firefighters and structures in jeopardy."

Ayscue said the most common mistake is leaving a fire unattended, and not having water handy.

That's what some men in found out Wednesday in Person County. They were burning trash when a brush fire kicked up in a matter of minutes.

As for the Sampson County fire, a total of 180 acres was destroyed.

Firefighters had the flames under control Friday morning, with only a few hot spots to contend with.

The fire started when a man was burning timbers. He was given a warning citation.

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