Botetourt Fire and EMS crews may have to battle against a Buchanan brush fire until a predicted rainstorm Friday, Chief Jeff Beckner said Tuesday.
A fire that started with 3 acres on Monday afternoon near Short Hill Drive had scorched about 300 acres by Tuesday evening.
Beckner said the fire developed quickly because of low humidity and wind gusts and the inability of firefighters to quickly get to it on the steep and rocky terrain.
“It’s the perfect storm for a wildfire,” Beckner said.
Brush fires were a nuisance for the Botetourt firefighters Tuesday, with a second one on Switzer Mountain Road and another on Walker Orchard Road. Crews were able to contain and control those quickly, Beckner said.
In Buchanan, with the help of the Virginia Department of Forestry, crews used five bulldozers to create a 1,000-acre perimeter, which Beckner said should prevent the flames from spreading. The department originally planned a 210-acre perimeter on Tuesday morning, but expanded it when the fire broke over the ridge line about 11 a.m.
Crews planned to continue to battle the fire at daybreak on Wednesday morning. No property had been damaged during the fire, but with four houses close to the expanding fire, three engines were scheduled to be on standby overnight to monitor those and watch for flareups, Beckner said.
Botetourt Fire and EMS received additional assistance over the past two days from Rockbridge County, Glasgow and Natural Bridge.
Beckner said Monday’s fire is one of the largest the county has had in recent memory. It is roughly the size of a 2010 Botetourt County fire that burned 300 acres north of Lake Catherine. That fire was part of a larger system of wildfires that burned 1,400 acres across Western Virginia.
As of Tuesday evening, no injuries had been reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.