Brush Fires On The Rise; Firefighters Issue Warnings

All it takes a small gust of wind and a lit flame to turn bare grass into a raging brush fire.

MGN Online

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- All it takes a small gust of wind and a lit flame to turn bare grass into a raging brush fire.

"Just minute, and I looked out the door in the bedroom and it just took not long at all," Bertha Ferguson said.

A bare hillside shows the damage left behind after Ferguson left a small pile of ashes smoldering.

"It was burning so much that we couldn't hardly contain it," said Ferguson.

It's a daily occurrence, and one firefighters are hoping to stomp out.

"It's better off to wait a couple days and then burn," warns Pinch Firefighter Patrick Clark.

If you think the results are just a pile of burned up brush, think again.

"Controlled burns get close to a residence and they can very well end up being a residential structure fire as well," said Clark, "so it kinda works hand in hand."

That's a mark that can't be replaced by planting a few more seeds.

It's part of the reason the Pinch, Clendenin, and Elkview Fire Departments came together for training Saturday.

Though they were practicing on a house, the tools learned work in any situation.

"Getting familiar with how the engines pump, getting familiar with the command structure we have set in place, and becoming familiar, and increasing our ability to work as a team," said Clark.

It's a team you're a part of, which is why they encourage you not to work alone.

"Get the fire department there as quickly as possible," said Clark.

It's advice these men hope won't go up in smoke.

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