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Wind Turns Small Blaze into Raging Brush Fire in Chatham County

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CHATHAM COUNTY — Sunshine and a springlike breeze spelled a perfect day for most people but not for firefighters in Chatham County where the dry wind whipped a small blaze into a raging brushfire.

From the sky, you could see the huge cloud of smoke above Pittsboro. On the ground, firefighters fought the flames.

Firefighters planned their battle carefully. They used heavy equipment to plow up a fireline, hoping to stop the flames. But more than once, the flames jumped across, creeping close to homes.

"The fire broke out. They said we need to evacuate and head this way," said resident Donald Mann.

Mann and his family were told to pack up and leave, along with the others who live along Thompson Road including a dozen children at a day care center.

Volunteers with a van drove the children to the county emergency operations center until their parents could pick them up.

As the smoke began to clear, you could see the fire scorched the ground all around a cemetery in the middle of the woods, but claimed no lives.

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Todd Hauer, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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