Fire burns 75 acres in Chesterfield
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Apr 15, 2013, 13:37
Two fast-moving brush fires merged and caused part of Route 288 to be shut down Wednesday, creating traffic backups well into the evening.
Lt. Jason Elmore, with Chesterfield Fire and EMS said the call came in at 1:07 p.m. and crews worked to contain the fire along the 8400 block of Courthouse Road until 7:30 p.m. It took 15 engines, five brush trucks, three tankers and a bulldozer and helicopter from the Department of Forestry, six and half hours to contain the 75-acre fire.
Elmore said there were no homes that were in danger. He said fire personnel were staged near the homes, which were located 50 to 75 feet from the fire.
The brush fire also resulted in several road closures, causing back-ups for miles. Courthouse Road was closed from Iron Bridge Road to Newbys Bridge Road. Route 288 North and South were closed from the Courthouse Road exit to the Ironbridge Road exit. Elmore said both roads were shut down from about 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The fire, which Elmore said he is fairly confident started around Courthouse Road, also jumped 288 into the median and the woods. However, Elmore said those were extinguished quickly.
The hot weather, an unseasonably warm day with highs in the low 90s, the abundance of dead trees, low humidity and dry conditions helped aid in the rapid spread of the fire yesterday, Elmore said.
The brush fire continued to cause problems on Thursday as well. The Department of Forestry classified Thursday with a “high” danger rating based upon the high temperatures, low humidity and the wind gusts. The Chesterfield Fire and EMS worked on Thursday to work on “hot spots” left from the brush fire. One lane of Route 288 South was closed as crews worked Thursday.
Elmore said a crew had been out in that location all day Thursday containing flare ups from the fire. He did not anticipate crews being on scene as long as they were the previous day. Chesterfield Fire and EMS said that residents could expect to see smoky conditions along 288 between Courthouse and Ironbridge roads.
At this time, an investigation is ongoing as to a cause for the fire yesterday. Elmore said it would not have taken much to start the fire.
“It could’ve been a cigarette from a window or a spark from a vehicle, something as small as that,” Elmore said.