20 Fire Departments Respond To Fast-Moving Wildfires In Craig County

Friday, January 31st 2014, 1:20 pm
By: Craig Day

Wet weather is coming as a huge relief for firefighters in Craig County where a wildfire burned about 800 acres and destroyed a barn on Thursday.

And another separate fire spread rapidly Friday morning just a few miles away.

A steady drizzle is falling in Craig County. It's cold and raw, but firefighters say the moisture is welcome after one of the fastest moving wildfires they've ever seen. Firefighters from more than 20 fire departments worked to contain that fire, which was three miles long and a half mile wide.

"I'm not going to mind a blustery, raw day as long as the moisture stays," said Morris Bluejacket, Craig County Emergency Management.

Because of wind gusts of 35 miles an hour, it jumped two county roads and a state highway. The forestry service also responded to cut fire lines in thick timber.

"Most definitely the fastest one I've ever seen," said Chief Kevin Wofford, Vinita Fire Department.

1/30/2014 Related Story: Grassfire Engulfs Craig County Farmland; Bales Of Hay Go Up

Another unrelated fire, a few miles away started Friday morning. Firefighters feared it could be just as bad, but thankfully the weather system moved in, increasing the humidity and bringing drizzle with it.

"We were going to have the same problem you know, getting tankers there, getting it put out, and so the added moisture just slowed her down, along with the water we had there, we got it put out," Wofford said.

While the extra moisture is coming at a much needed time, firefighters say it shouldn't give anyone a false sense of security.

"Don't let this fool you. We're still dry, even though we're getting a little bit of moisture today, if this moves out, and the sun comes out and the wind keeps blowing, it will dry us out in a couple of hours," said Chief Kevin Wofford, Vinita Fire Department.

Investigators will now work to figure out how those fires started.