Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) determined a lightning strike prompted a blaze on Oct. 23 on Bull Mountain.
Patrick County Emergency Management Services (EMS) Scottie Cassell said the department noticed lightning in the area the day before the fire occurred.
“Where it was at, nobody had been back there in a while. We had to bulldoze a road to clear the old path back out there,” he said.
Because the fire was near the same location as the last time the mountain caught fire, Cassell said it wasn’t as difficult to extinguish.
Cassell said Station 8 received the call around 7 a.m. and battled the blaze for 13 hours.
“We got it surrounded in about six to seven hours. We had to cut a fire line, or trench, around it. Humans had to dig a line about four-to-six foot wide all the way around it,” he said.
Cassell estimates a couple of acres caught fire.
“There was a heavy frost that night that kept it kind of contained, but all the fire work had to be done by hand by cutting with chainsaws and rakes and stuff. We had to hand dig the line and that’s what took us so long, it is very steep terrain,” he said.
Nearly 75 responded to help with the fire effort, Cassell, of Station 8, said. That included manpower from all eight county volunteer fire departments – CCDF Volunteer Fire Department, Ararat Volunteer Fire Department, Patrick Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Stuart Volunteer Fire Department, Patrick Henry Volunteer Fire Department, Moorefield Store Volunteer Fire Department, Woolwine Volunteer Fire Department, Meadows of Dan Volunteer Fire Department, and Fairystone Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the Smith River Rescue Squad, VDOF, and the Patrick County Patriots.
“We had nine brush trucks, two tankers, 18 side-by-sides, 12 four-wheelers, two ambulances, and the Department of Forestry’s dowser,” he said.
There were no injuries.
Cassell said the DOF stayed with the fire last night and plans to “re-walk it again today (Monday) to make sure everything’s okay.”