UPDATE: 200-acre forest fire in Dinwiddie County contained

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - A big fire in Dinwiddie County. It's happening in an area near Routes 611 and 708 not far from the Appomattox River. That fire grew throughout the afternoon, forcing the people who live nearby to evacuate.

Responders say high winds and dry conditions made it difficult to get the upper hand on the fire. More than 200 acres have burned in this forest fire. Smoke could be seen for miles.

Bobby Bartley's bunny rabbit, named Midnight, suffered minor injuries.

Nicole Bell: "What do we see here? What happened to the rabbit?"
Bobby Bartley: "The fire is so close to my house it singed the hair off the back of his back. So I'll probably have to take it to the vet this evening"

The blaze started around 11:30 Monday morning near the intersection of Browns and Namozine Roads.

"We had a helicopter fly out and it's estimated that the fire is 1 mile long to 1 and a half mile wide. So it's a long narrow fire which is an indication of a wind driven fire," said Scott Bachman.

Firefighters from neighboring localities -- including Petersburg, Ameila and Colonial Heights are on scene to help.

"This is a large fire for Virginia. I believe the typical fire is about 5 acres and we're talking about 200 or more - that's a big fire for our people," Bachman said.

Although the fire is fully contained, responders say they'll likely be out late into the night to make the area safe.

As for Bartley and Midnight.

Bobby Bartley: "I can't imagine the pain it's going through right now. [He's] scared to death." Nicole Bell: "You -- the rabbit or both?"
Bobby Bartley: "Both of us really."

The cause of the forest fire is not known at this point -- an investigation is underway.

The fire forced nearly 15 homes to be evacuated. People have since then they've been given the okay to go back into their home. Most people were concerned about their pets and some were able to run back and grab their animals.

Now they're being reunited.

"I went up and spoke to the officer and he said it'd be best for us to stay back here. They did have fire apparatuses in our driveway," said Michael Vanscyoc who's home was evacuated.

Fire crews are still working on this fire. Again no homes were damaged. If you don't live in this area, Browns Road in Dinwiddie County you're asked not to drive through here.

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