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Spotsy firefighters battle several brush fires

Spotsylvania County firefighters battled several brush fires on Saturday.

The first, a 100- by 100-foot blaze, occurred at about 9:45 a.m. near 6600 Plantation Forest Drive, Fire Chief Monty Willaford said. It was caused by a juvenile who was playing with a lighter, he said.

Two other fires happened later in the day as a result of residents burning brush.  One of those blazes, at the 8800 block of Berkeley Farms Lane, spread to two acres and destroyed a vehicle, Willaford said.  A homeowner was illegally burning brush when the fire got out of control at about 3:15 p.m., he said.

The other brush fire, caused by a resident who was burning leaves and branches, spread to less than an acre  at the 500 block of Santee Drive at about 5:30 p.m., Willaford said. A neighbor’s garage sustained heat damage.

Virginia law prohibits outdoor burning until after 4 p.m. from Feb. 15 through April 30 within 300 feet of woodland, brushy areas or fields with dry grass. Violators can be fined $500, plus fire-suppression costs, if the fire escapes.

Willaford said residents should avoid outdoor burning—even after 4 p.m.—on windy, dry days like this past Saturday.

Firefighters also battled a brush fire on Saturday that spread to 100 acres in Caroline County and Spotsylvania. That fire, which was reported in Sunday’s Free Lance–Star, started at about noon.

Two Spotsylvania firefighters were transferred to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center with heat exhaustion.

The fire was contained by 6 p.m., but continued to smolder into the night. It occurred in a hard-to-reach wooded and swampy area,  prompting the state Forestry Department to call in an aircraft to douse the area with water.

Spotsylvania Deputy Fire Chief Scott Hechler said no residences were jeopardized by the fire and no one was evacuated because of it.

The cause is still under investigation.