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Rash of fires keep county crews busy

Firefighters stayed busy Wednesday afternoon fighting a rash of brush fires that broke out throughout the county.

These fires burned over a dozen acres in Cluster Springs, Nathalie, Winns Creek and Halifax.

 According to Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday firefighters from Halifax volunteer Fire Department, Liberty Volunteer Fire Department and Triangle Volunteer Fire Department along with two Halifax County Sheriff’s Deputies and forestry technicians from the Virginia Department of Forestry responded to a brush fire at 1247 Winns Creek Road.

When Saunders and firefighters arrived on the scene, they found both sides of Winns Creek Road engulfed in flames. 

 A total of 14 firefighters worked for three to four hours assisted by three forestry technicians using a bulldozer to extinguish the six to eight acres consumed by flames.

The road had to be closed as firefighters put out the blaze, and deputies on the scene controlled traffic, Saunders said.

 The fire started while a woman was burning a bush and the fire got out of control threatening two homes.

Flames got within 25 feet of one home and within 15 to 20 feet of another.

Saunders said he was sure the woman was ticketed and billed by forestry for their services rendered in extinguishing the blaze Wednesday afternoon.

The fire damaged a Century Link telephone pedestal and a Mecklenburg Electric line briefly knocking out power to area residents.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Saunders expressed appreciation to all those who helped to bring the flames under control and assisted at the scene.

“The volunteer firefighters did a good job with the limited resources they had,” he added.

Saunders credits the volunteer firefighters with saving the two homes.

“That’s just the day-to-day course of what they do,” Saunders said.

He also expressed appreciation to the American Red Cross for bringing the firefighters cool drinks and food as they worked to control the large blaze.

Saunders reminds citizens to only burn after 4 p.m. because the humidity goes up at that time, and the wind dies down. 

He also suggests anyone planning to burn should be aware of climate conditions, watch the fire at all times and have a water supply nearby.  

He cautions residents not to burn until there is more moisture in the atmosphere. He said most of the fires lately have been because of people carelessly burning when they shouldn’t be. 

Saunders concluded the best solution would be not to burn at all.

Later that evening another brush fire was reported at 5042 Bold Springs Road in Cluster Springs, the scene of a brush fire last month.

According to Cluster Springs Fire Chief Mike Harris, 16 Cluster Springs volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene at 6:50 p.m. with three trucks and were assisted by South Boston Fire Department with six firefighters and two trucks and Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department with seven firefighters and two trucks.

The State Forestry Department also assisted with a bulldozer that was brought in to help control the six to seven-acre woods and brushfire.

Firefighters remained on the scene for two and a half hours in an effort to bring that fire under control.

Harris said, “It could have been a lot worse.”

The fire was in a densely wooded area where firefighters had to cut down trees and use rakes to beat the fire out.

“Some firemen cut down small trees and used them to help put out the fire,” he said.

No one was hurt, and nothing was damaged, Harris said.

Harris also expressed appreciation to those who responded to the fire.

Prior to the Cluster Springs fire, Halifax and Oak Level volunteer fire departments responded to a small brush fire at 1000 Ball Park Loop Road in Halifax around 4:12 p.m. 

According to Halifax Volunteer Firefighter H. C. Phillips Sr., four firefighters from each department responded to the property of Tim Haley each bringing two trucks.

Firefighters worked until 4:43 p.m. using at least 400 gallons of water to extinguish the half-acre fire.

Phillips said the blaze started when Haley tried to burn the grass off of his garden spot, and the fire got out of control.

Since the fire was after 4 p.m., it was legal.

No one was hurt, and nothing was damaged in the fire, Phillips said. 

In addition to these fires, firefighters also responded to a brush fire on Stage Coach Road in the northern section of the county on Wednesday.