Brush Fires a Concern with Dry Conditions

Reporter: Lauren Compton | Videographer: Ira Quillen

No doubt about it, it's dry outside, dangerously dry. Two brush fires broke out Sunday, one in Lynchburg and one in Danville.

Fire officials blame it on the dry conditions. They say people should be extra careful discarding cigarettes, and grilling outside.

Fire officials tell us it doesn't take much to start a fire under these conditions.

"It was nothing but like, just black smoke all the way down and up," said Elaine Wright, whose house was close to the fire.

The brush fire started off Route 29 North just past the Grace Street overpass, just feet away from Wright's house. You can see where the brush fire crept into Wright's yard.

A day later, the smell of charred grass still lingers, and so does the memory of the blaze.

"When I got right here, I said, 'Oh my god.' This right here was on fire, like fire coming up," said Wright.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to knock down the flames, leaving behind a large scorched spot. A similar brush fire started in Danville between the Goodyear Boulevard and Highway 86 exits on the Bypass. In both cases fire officials say the dry conditions sped up the spread of the fires.

"The grass right now is very, very dry we haven't had much rain lately, the wind has been dry, all the weather has been really hot," said Jennifer Mayberry, Education Specialist for the Lynchburg Fire Department.

Jennifer Mayberry demonstrated just how quickly fires can start under these conditions. She broke up pieces of a dry tree limb then set them aflame. Nothing much happened, but it definitely did when we added dry grass and plants.

"It doesn't take much for the grass to catch on fire, especially if you have dry leaves and debris from the storms that we've had those will catch on fire very easily," said Mayberry.

Fire officials have not determined the cause of those two fires. Right now the U-S Drought Monitors say our area is abnormally dry. It is not technically a drought, but you still need to be extra careful because the ground is really dry.