Henrico sees most active year for brush fires in a decade

Henrico sees most active year for brush fires in a decade
Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 7:02 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Dry, dangerous conditions have been a trend throughout the year.

Battalion Chief for Henrico County Fire Doug Reynolds said this year has been the most active year for brush fires in the county in the last 10 years.

“The biggest wildcard for us is the humidity. When that humidity falls it just makes fires that can start so easy. It can travel across all these leaves,” said Reynolds.

He says that brush fires are the most dangerous fires they encounter.

“Because it’s so unpredictable, wind changes, any of those types of things can almost mean the difference of ‘I have plenty of exit way behind me’ to where all of the sudden, ‘I’m trapped,’” the chief explained.

If a brush fire does break out, Reynolds said to make a “green belt” or “cut a line,” which means you rake all of the leaves up to create a “belt” around your yard that is only grass or dirt. That’s exactly what he and his crews had to do back in February while fighting a 70-acre brush fire.

“What we’re trying to do is take away the fuel from the fire,” he said.

A fire in Quaker Run has been contained after burning thousands of acres and the Matts Creek fire has burned nearly 6,000 acres and is not yet fully contained. Firefighters are having to bring in heavier duty machines than rakes and manpower.

“Here it may be hundreds of feet, several acres, but out there they’re starting to get into miles long fires and it’s just so hard to work with, and that’s when you need the bulldozers to come in,” said Chief Reynolds.