Brush Fires Sweep Across Triangle's Backyard
Posted March 17, 1999
RALEIGH — Brush fires scorched close to 600 acres in North Carolina, and many of those acres were in the Triangle's backyard.
Thursday's warm, windy weather did not help firefighters, and without a good soaking, conditions are prime for more fire problems.
Local firefighters worked double-time because mother nature made just about every brush fire nearly impossible to put out.
"It is scary, especially when you get here and see it's jumped across the road," says Pete Williams, a Wake County homeowner.
The only thing Williams and other Auburn homeowners could do was watch and hope that the wind would not carry the flames to their doorsteps.
"I was worried about my house going down," says homeowner Albert Grady. "It kind of worried my wife a little bit when she saw the fire."
The fire jumped across a set of railroad tracks shutting down train traffic for several hours. It also scorched a nearby cemetery, but spared dozens of homes.
"It blazed everything back through [the cemetery]," homeowner Albert Grady Jr. said. "It was scary for a few minutes there, but they got it contained and everything's okay."
Flames got so high in a Harnett County brush fire, a nearby mobile home park had to be evacuated, and an air tanker was brought in to douse the flames. Throughout the state, wind and dry weather made brush fires extremely dangerous.
"With the wind blowing it's got up in the 20 foot pines and went up to the top in what they call a crown," says Capt. Sonny Bridgers with the Garner Fire Department. "And that's just like adding gasoline to it because the needles produce so much vapor."
Besides the brush fires in Wake and Harnett counties, wildfires in Hoke County burned down a house.