By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Mercer County firefighters were called out Sunday morning in response to a report of a brush and/or forest fire on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail. An off-duty firefighter from Washington, D.C., reported the blaze to 911 at about 7:50 a.m. The initial call came in to Tazewell County 911, but emergency responders in Tazewell, Va., immediately transferred the call to Mercer County.
“There was a big pile of wood debris up there that had been bulldozed some time ago,” Chief Joe Miller of the Bramwell Volunteer Fire Department said. “We responded with three trucks and our Gator. The fire was located on the trail up near the Belcher Cemetery off of Windmill Gap Road so we could reach it with our trucks. Montcalm Volunteer Fire Department responded with a tanker. They came up through Goodwill Hollow.”
Miller said that firefighters put 3,800 gallons of water on the fire. “A fire like that just burns so hot that about all you can hope is to contain it,” he said. “We got on scene after 8 a.m., and were up there until about noon, but it was still smoldering when we left.” He said the firefighters used a “surround and drown” approach to battling the blaze.
Firefighters found several empty beer cans at the site, leading Miller to speculate that it was probably set as a bon fire of some kind, as part of a party.
“There is no alcohol allowed on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail at all,” Miller said. “If one of the rangers would have come along and seen them, the ones who were there would likely have found themselves in jail,” Miller said.
Miller said that the fire was between trails 13 and 19. He also cautioned against setting open fires in the woods and leaving them unattended at this time of the year.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org