State News

Cumberland fire possibly lit by controlled burn

Posted February 23, 2011

— The owner of land ravaged by a still-burning fire in Cumberland County says she believes the fire started as a controlled burn and is questioning why state officials permitted it in the first place.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that Privateer Farm owner Sharon Valentine believes the fire began as a controlled burn on neighboring property.

Authorities say increasing winds sparked those smoldering remnants to ignite an explosive fire that has consumed some 1,000 acres so far.

Firefighters say the blaze is 40 percent contained but still threatens a nearby 3,400-acre wetlands restoration project. Valentine is questioning why the state Forest Service would permit a controlled burn during a series of red flag warnings that discourage outdoor burning.

Marshall Hartsfield, the owner of Woodland Management Inc., told WRAL News that he monitored the site of one he started last week for several days and was putting sand on hot spots Monday morning.

Winds picked up later in the day, Hartsfield said, noting that he had no idea that a wildfire would erupt from the area. He said he has been performing controlled burns for 26 years.


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  • fusiformrust Feb 23, 2011

    Truth be told, Sharon Valentine came out pretty good in this instance. She got a whole lot of free burning that did relatively little damage. I have seen it, and the fire did more good than harm, believe it or not. Yes, it was unfortunate that the fire escaped from the controlled burn and scared a lot of people but the Media has a way of blowing things out of proportion to get people's attention. Progress Energy is the only victim in this case. They lost a few wooden power line poles Monday night and had to replace them Tuesday but they also have been phasing the wooden poles out and putting metal poles in their place for some time now. As for the timing and conditions of the burn, there was no restrictions to burning last Tuesday and Wednesday when the prescribed burn occurred. It was a textbook burn. I know for a fact that much care was taken to prevent the fire from escaping after the planned burning was completed.

  • mikeyj Feb 23, 2011

    WHOA! DO NOT blame "forestry"! Here on the coast all three networks have pushed the issue that warning flags were up. Blame the individuals that actually lit their fires even with permits. Any BOYSCOUT knows about the "OUTDOOR CODE". The warnings were up. The people who sparked fires are "FOOLS"! They suffer what I call the "it can't/won't happen to me" mentality. Same ones think their SUVs can travel 70mph on I40 with 2"of snow on the ground and four wheel drive means,"Won't get stuck". My rant is complete sorry. Please do not put the blame of the NC Forestry Service.

  • Vietnam Vet Feb 23, 2011

    "Controlled burn"?? Isn't that like a contradiction in terms? What nitwit thought it would be a good idea to allow any kind of outside burning high wind conditions???

  • lma1973 Feb 23, 2011

    This doesnt really sound like a "control burn" to me. Doesnt the fact that this is now a wild fire somewhat a contradiction in terms?

  • lma1973 Feb 23, 2011

    Plenty of info here about road brime:

  • tobywilliamson58 Feb 23, 2011

    It is chicken pox, but the virus has nothing to do with chickens. It actually started in pigeons in England and then was transferred to the US by way of immigrants coming here. But, I do know that Brime is spelled right and it is the stuff they spray on the roads. Brine is a mixture that tough cuts of meat is marinated in so to make it more palatible. Food network talks about it all the time!

  • batcave Feb 23, 2011

    chicken pops is the new chicken flavored cereal that I really like

  • RB-1 Feb 23, 2011

    tobywilliamson -

    Please provide an online link defining the word "brime" cause some of the rest of us are having trouble finding one.

    Brine now, we can find.

    Do you also say "chicken pops"?

    Cause it's "chicken pox" not "chicken pops".

  • RB-1 Feb 23, 2011

    "Hartsfield said, noting that he had no idea that a wildfire would erupt from the area. He said he has been performing controlled burns for 26 years."

    Did he have a burning permit?

    And if he did, who issued it???

    Cause there's where the fault really lies.

    Thank God no one has been seriously injured in dealing with this.

  • hfweather Feb 23, 2011

    Has anyone ever actually looked at the burning permit. Here is the link.

    guess its too late to tell the guy to get one after he got killed over the weekend huh?now let me go burn some more trash on this beautiful day