By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD — Click here for video
Local and visiting firefighters endured long hours, heat and acrid smoke Monday as they worked to contain a brush fire burning along the mountainside stretching from the Ingleside to Ada areas of Mercer County.
The fire was reported early Sunday afternoon near an Ingleside Road home in Green Valley. Members of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to the scene. The East River, Bluewell and Oakvale volunteer fire departments soon joined the effort to keep the fire contained.
Green Valley-Glenwood firefighters monitored fire burning Monday afternoon in the ditch and on the mountainside along Route 112 near Ada Road said. They were hoping to cut off the brush fire so it could not burn further, and watching to make sure it could not jump the road and spread.
“It’s still rolling,” firefighter Brandon Billings said. “We’re trying to burn it into itself and slow it down.”
Firefighters worked until 4 a.m. Monday, then were called out again when the fire started approaching some homes, Billings said.
“We were out here all night,” added firefighter John Lambert, who said that they did it “for love of the job. We do it for free.”
“Nothing’s as strong as the heart of a volunteer,” Billings said.
Chief Dave Thompson of the Green Valley-Glenwood department arrived at that part of the fire scene and said that high winds, the terrain and dryness were making the job difficult. He estimated that more than 200 acres had been burned as of Monday afternoon. He was hoping for rain.
Recent snow melted off quickly and did not saturate the ground or dead foliage, leaving the forest dry, Thompson said.
Don Kelley, an investigator with the state Division of Forestry, said 25 to 30 forestry firefighters were on the mountainside working to contain the fire. The fire’s cause is currently under investigation. Except for a damaged telephone pole, there had not been any reports of property damage.
“So far, the fire departments have done an excellent job at protecting homes,” he said as he paused for a moment on Route 112.
Kelley said another brush fire had been reported in the Raysal and Bradshaw area of McDowell County. He estimated that approximately 2,500 acres had burned, but added that the area is “very rural” and that there had been no reports of any threatened or damaged structures.
By 6 p.m. firefighters had withdraw from the scene in Mercer County, a dispatcher with Mercer County 911 said. They were to be paged out if the fire approached any homes.
In McDowell County, firefighters left the scene between 3:30 and 4 p.m., according to a dispatcher with McDowell County 911.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com