USA — A forest fire that damaged approximately 1,300 acres in Louisa County on Saturday was fully contained by 6 a.m. yesterday, according to Louisa officials.
No serious injuries were reported, but a local state of emergency was declared in the county Saturday evening because of the fire, which burned between Chopping Road, Old County Road, Zachary Taylor Highway and Spring Road.
Yesterday morning, county officials reported that residents who were evacuated from areas near the fire had been allowed to return to their homes.
One house, two sheds, one barn and one vehicle were destroyed, and two other homes sustained minor damage, a county press release reported.
Nearly 50 firefighters from all of the county’s volunteer departments, all on-duty career members of the Louisa County fire and rescue department, along with personnel from the state Department of Forestry and aid from Spotsylvania, Hanover, Henrico and Prince George counties assisted in fighting the blaze at its peak.
A portion of Zachary Taylor Highway was closed Saturday, but was reopened yesterday. Motorists in the area are still urged to use caution, and signs warning of low visibility have been placed in the area as smoke conditions change with the wind.
The fire began around 2 p.m. Saturday, after a downed tree struck a power line in the 1000 block of Chopping Road.
It was one of many fires Saturday fed by high winds that gusted up to 55 mph.
The winds knocked out power to about 3,600 Rappahannock Electric Cooperative customers.
The REC reported that its crews worked through the night and restored power to all customers by 2 a.m. yesterday.
An REC press release said the cooperative experienced its first outages at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Heavy call volumes required most area localities to call in off-duty fire and rescue personnel.
Spotsylvania County put training vehicles into service, and Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle said the county called in off-duty career staff and opened an emergency operations center to handle a high number of calls about brush fires and downed trees.
Doyle said downed or damage power lines appeared to be the cause of many of the fires. No injuries or major property damage were reported in either Spotsylvania or Stafford.
Six fires in Prince William County scorched about 300 acres and led officials to evacuate 60 people from homes. The worst fire was in a neighborhood where a tree had been blown over onto a power line. Some were still without power in the area, though that should have been restored yesterday, county officials said in a press release.
Crews used so much water that water pressure fell to dangerous levels, leading officials to issue a boil-water advisory that was still in effect yesterday morning. All the fires in Prince William were under control by yesterday.