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Roanoke County first responders provide update on brush fires

UPDATE

The Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department has provided an update on two separate brush fires.

The 12 O’Clock Knob fire is now 75 acres and has reached 80% containment, while the Keffer Road one has remained at 14 acres and is now fully contained.

Authorities said the portion of the road close to the 12 O’Clock Knob will remain closed to traffic until at least 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Stay with 10 News as this breaking news story continues to develop.

ORIGINAL STORY

Roanoke County first responders were busy keeping an eye on two separate brush fires Monday night, all while the statewide burn ban continues to be in effect.

As a reminder, during the burn ban, it’s illegal to burn anytime before 4 p.m. within 300 feet of the woods or dry grass.

[READ MORE: Strong gusts, low humidity fuel threat for brush fires through mid-week]

10 News spoke with Roanoke County leaders about weather conditions and why it’s common for a fire to catch quickly.

“It is not at all surprising to have a brush fire this time of year. This is a very common occurrence,” said Brian Clingenpeel, community outreach coordinator for Roanoke County Fire & Rescue.

A brush fire in Roanoke County has grown to about 14 acres and is 80% contained, coinciding with another brush fire that sparked off 12 O’Clock Knob Road after a car fire spread, according to Roanoke County Fire and EMS.

Fire officials are urging communities to follow burn laws but to be extra cautious this week.

“The next few days are not good days to burn, period. Regardless of what the law says, these are not good days to burn for the next several days,” Clingenpeel said.

Roanoke County authorities said with the lower humidity, temperatures rising, and winds picking up, it doesn’t take much for a fire to spread.

“Discarded ashes, or even a cigarette butt can start a fire that can spread to homes and buildings and be very destructive, and we have seen that in the recent past. This is not the case with this fire, but it can happen, so again I just want to caution people to be very careful the next couple [of] days.”

Throughout Southwest Virginia, there have been multiple brush fires, both in Montgomery County and Wythe County. Officials told 10 News that the dry and windy weather is to blame.

“The outdoor burn laws changed February the 15th, and I believe that goes until the end of April, and it is precisely because of the weather conditions that we get this time of year that make it possible for things like this to happen.”

The National Weather Service has also chimed in, saying there is enhanced fire danger with the current weather and that burning is discouraged.


Source: WSLS News 10

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