Weekend Brush Fires Force Extensive Response

Monday, Feb. 21 – Prince William County officials apparently tried to stay on top of what they thought were dangerous fire conditions when they issued a fire ban on Friday, Feb. 18, due to dry conditions and expected high winds. But even with the ban in place, six major fires flared up the next day across the county. According to Prince William officials, the response in fighting those fires was “the most extensive fire and rescue response in more than 30 years.”

“This was the busiest day I have experienced in my 31-year career with Prince William County,” said Chief Kevin McGee, Prince William Department of Fire and Rescue in a released statement. “We had the support of so many people on this from Chief Hickerson of the Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department recalling off-duty volunteers and available fire and rescue units to Prince William County Police working traffic issues and road closures. We also had support from our colleagues in Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. I am especially proud of all the men and women who were able to bring these fires under control with no loss of life and minimal structural damage. This was a team effort, and I am proud of everyone involved.”

The six fires swept across some 300 acres of county land in the course of the day. Officials listed these details:

• In the Woodbridge area, near the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Smoketown Road, a 25-acre brush fire drew 19 units in response. No cause has yet been determined in that fire.
• Near Northern Virginia Community College, a brush fire consumed 10 acres near the Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. No injuries or structural damage was reported, and the fire was brought under control and the area cleared by 9:30 p.m. No cause has yet been determined.
• The most significant fire began in the
Occoquan Forest neighborhood, and was estimated to cover approximately 200 acres. A tree blown over onto a power line is believed to have been the cause of the three-alarm fire, and 52 units were deployed to combat it. Power and phone service was lost to some of the residents.
• Behind K-Mart near I-95 south at the Dale City exit, 10 units responded to a fire consuming 25 acres. A 29-year-old man was charged by the Fire Marshal’s Office for carelessly damaging property by fire. It is believed he left residue of a trash fire in the wooded area behind the K-mart that started this fire. No injuries or structural damage was reported, and the fire was brought under control and the area cleared by 9:30 p.m.
• In the Lake Jackson area near Route 234 and Sinclair Mill, six engines fought a fire that consumed one acre; no injuries or structural damage reported. No cause has yet been determined.
• Near I-95 northbound & Cardinal Drive, 11 units responded to a brush fire consuming 35 acres. No injuries or structural damage were reported. The fire was brought under control and the area cleared by 10 p.m. No cause has yet been determined.

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