Fayetteville firefighters battle woods fire

April 6, 2010 9:06:20 PM PDT
Fayetteville firefighters were called to battle a fire in a wooded area on Edgecombe Street Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters aren't sure how or who started the fire in the swampy area, but they are certain windy conditions made it a lot worse.

"We have high temperatures, low humidity and high winds with gusty winds, so it made it real difficult to guess which way the wind was going to blow," said Mike Good with the North Carolina Forestry Service.

A forestry service helicopter dropped tons of water on the smoldering blaze, while crews dug fire lines to contain the flames.

Crews stood ready to protect homes around the swamp, but no residents were threatened.

"The first thing I thought was how far, do I go to the house, do I leave the car, do I run, I was scared to death," resident Jessie McNeill said.

Firefighters were able to knock the brush fire down before it caused any serious property damage, but say they may not be that lucky the next time.

Forestry officials say the state is in the middle of the spring fire season. They say last month was damp and rainy, which kept the fire threat down, but now the woodlands are drying out.

Already this year wildfires have burned more than 5,000 acres across the state. For now local and state fire officials urge residents not to do any outdoor burning.

"We are just asking people to be extra careful outside, be it with a match, or candle, Tiki torches, cigarettes, anything like that," Fayetteville Fire Department Commander Ron Lewis said. "Be careful, spark lands in a dry leafy area it will turn into a fire really quick."

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