Lightning Ignites Wildfire; Horses, Hounds, Homes Saved

Firefighters, Forest Service personnel and volunteers had their hands full Saturday when a lightning strike sparked a wildfire off Old Union Road.

Horses, a pen of hunting dogs and multiple structures were in danger at different times during the incident.The fire was made worse by the hot, dry conditions affecting the area.

Acme-Delco-Riegelwood (ADR) Fire Chief Steve Camlin said firefighters were dispatched around 3:45 p.m. to a remote wooded area near the 500 block of Old Union Road after a witness saw a lightning strike and fire. The thickly wooded area was inaccessible by conventional vehicles, Camlin said, so assistance was requested by the Forest Service. An ADR member stood by with a water tanker to provide support.

An ADR firefighter who first arrived on the scene reported “a working fire,” Camlin said.

“The Forest Service was working in another area, but this fire had grown in intensity,” Camlin said. Assistance for both wildfires and the potential for the fire to spread to structures was requested from other fire departments, including Buckhead, Hallsboro and Bolton.

The fire was threatening to cross a road toward several residences, Camlin said. While other personnel and equipment were en route, the fire jumped the road and was moving quickly.

At one point while firefighters were deploying, the fire jumped the road again, Camlin said, and several more residences came under threat as “the fire had a clear shot to burn all the way to 74-76 if it wasn’t stopped.”

 Firefighters stopped the fire as it threatened two homes and an LP gas tank. Meanwhile, the blaze threatened a horse barn and dog pens. Several neighbors moved the animals to safety, Camlin said.

Meanwhile, the Forest Service requested two more tractor plows to assist the first plow deployed. A nearby resident jumped in with his own backhoe, Camlin said.

“He went through the woods and knocked down (brush) and cut lines, and it helped,” Camlin said.

A property owner and a firefighter checked the north side of the fire, Camlin said, monitoring the fire’s progress toward U.S. 74 and some stored equipment.

“Wind conditions were up and down,” Camlin said, “but we did get the fire breaks to reposition, and replenished water and personnel.”

Tankers were used to soak the sides of Old Union Road to slow the fire, and “nurse lines” provided water to firefighters in the area.

Camlin thanked all the departments involved, and had special praise for Hallsboro Station 16.

“They’ve been doing this a long time and they know the area,’ Camlin said. “They responded with proper equipment and personnel to handle any situation that might have arisen.

“There was a great job done by all the departments involved.”

About Jefferson Weaver 2149 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].