Wise County

Forest fire scorches 63 acres of land

Forest fire

WISE COUNTY, Va. - A fire ignited in Appalachia, Virginia and scorched over 60 acres of land.

Crews spent nearly 24 hours fighting the flames.

Smoke billows out of the woods Monday afternoon as a signal that a massive Sunday fire wasn't over.

Officials told us it started at an abandoned home. Crystal Rollins was one of the first people to see it go up in flames. "The back porch was completely in flames. We tried to get sticks and beat it out. It had spread all through the house, so there's nothing we could do," said Rollins.

Rollins told News 5 that in a matter of seconds it seemed, the entire house was gone but the flames were not. "Watching everything up through here burn was just awful," Rollins added.

The blaze quickly engulfed much the woods behind the old house; charring trees, brush, and everything in its path.

Forestry officials said wind fueled the flames. "We just mapped it at 63 acres," said Kenny Thomas, a forestry technician with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Residents told us that flames were shooting up as high as about 30 feet and came just yards away from several homes.

"I [came] home around 7:00 I guess. It [the fire] was very back on the mountain then, and within an hour it was right here at the house," said resident David Bates. "It was pretty scary alright. I thought [the house] was going to go," he added.

That was the same thought at a neighboring welding company, Clark Welding Service. For owner Randy Clark, the visual of the fire is burned in his memory. "The pine needles under the trees, oh I'm telling you, they went up fast. It was just unbelievable," Clark said. 

Clark started pumping water out of a nearby creek and sprayed it on to his buildings to prevent his own disaster "You've got to understand, you've got a multi-million dollar business, and you don't want it to go up in flames," Clark said.

We learned the Appalachia Fire Department is still investigating the fire. It could take several days before a cause is determined.

Most Popular