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Brush fire burns 31 acres in Durham

Posted August 3, 2011

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— A brush fire burned across 31 acres in northwest Durham Wednesday afternoon, prompting residents to use garden hoses and rakes to protect their homes.

The fire charred wooded areas near Cole Mill Road and Berini Drive, off Interstate 85. No injuries or evacuations were reported.

Durham firefighters and crews with the North Carolina Forest Service used a plow to cut a line around the fire and then set small fires in an attempt to keep the flames back.

"There's really no way to deal with it other than burn it out. So, what we have to do is protect what's on the other side of the line," said Capt. David Elston of the Durham Fire Department.

Firefighters thought they had the blaze under control, but the direction of the wind changed and the fire jumped the line, putting it as close as 40 feet behind some homes on Bentgrass Lane, said Willie Hall, operations chief for the Durham Fire Department.

"The problem is, with a woods fire, the conditions can change so fast (that) you can be in a situation that's easy to work in and then you can have fire all around you," Hall said.

Before firefighters arrived, area residents sprayed flames with garden hoses and raked brush away from their homes to keep the fire at bay.

Durham neighbors help defend homes from brush fire Durham neighbors help defend homes from brush fire

"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," resident Phil Young said with a laugh. "This same scenario happened about 10 years ago. The first time, it scared the dickens out of me. This time, I guess I'm a little more seasoned."

The fire might have burned an abandoned structure in the woods, residents said.

Firefighters got the fire under control by Wednesday evening, but they told residents that some hotspots could flare up overnight. The fire department sent a truck to the neighborhood overnight to monitor the situation.

"These guys came and did a wonderful job, and it's all good now," Young said.

Hall said it's unclear how the fire started, but the department's investigator has been called in to take a look.

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  • grammajm Aug 5, 2011

    I thought I heard that it was kids setting a bonfire in a barn. Might be a hint in the news where it said "The fire might have burned an abandoned structure in the woods, residents said." from a previous written story yesterday.

  • tsquaring Aug 3, 2011

    Wasn't there a house fire in north raleigh today?

  • ohsuzan Aug 3, 2011

    I live just across Cole Mill from where this fire is. It was incredibly smoky earlier this afternoon -- our house and clothes are going to smell like smoke for days! And my throat hurts! Kudos to those who are trying to keep us safe!

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Aug 3, 2011

    sammy - "Just as long as the smoke pushes the rodents the other way, I'll be fine!"

    Fire usually pushes the wee wild beasties in ALL directions cause they're as anxious to get away from fire as humans are.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Aug 3, 2011

    Praying for everyone out there, especially the emergency workers and the wee wild beasties living in that area.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 3, 2011

    This sure is a bad time for fire, I know there ain't really no good time, but it's hot out there. I sure hope they stay safe.

  • batricia1 Aug 3, 2011

    They have Durham, Hew Hope, Lebanon, and eno fire departments on scene. The forestey service has one engine, 2 tractors and one helicopter working

  • batricia1 Aug 3, 2011

    from what i hear there are still homes being threatened

  • sammyg Aug 3, 2011

    Just as long as the smoke pushes the rodents the other way, I'll be fine!