Brush fire scorches about 10 acres

Firefighter hurt in blaze near Oakland Mills High

March 24, 2004|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

A brush fire scorched about 10 acres of dead corn stalks and trees on county land near Oakland Mills High School in Columbia yesterday before firefighters brought it under control.

Firefighters responded shortly after 3 p.m. to the blaze, which started about 30 feet off Oakland Mills Road, between Old Montgomery Road and Shadowfall Terrace. Fueled by the remains of dried corn stalks, the fire raced across an open field before firefighters could surround and contain it.

One firefighter was taken to an unspecified hospital with hand injuries, said Bill Mould, a spokesman for the county's Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Such brush fires "are very common in the early spring and late fall," when there is dried vegetation on the ground, Mould said. Authorities would investigate the fire, he said.

By 4 p.m., the fire had been extinguished, though the ground was charred, smoking and steaming, and a number of trees had been blackened by the flames. Firefighters used specially designed pickup trucks to drive around the perimeter of the fire and spray water to keep it contained.

Firefighters also dragged hoses hundreds of feet from the road so they could spray heavier streams of water on the field.

The county owns the property, which is part of Blandair Park, said John R. Byrd, chief of the county's Bureau of Parks, who was at the scene. He said the county has leased the land to a farmer, who has raised corn on it the past two years.

Before that, the field had been overgrown and had not been used for farming for more than eight years, Byrd said.

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