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Carolina man charged in 458-acre Pulaski fire

A North Carolina man who has a cabin in the Allisonia area could face thousands of dollars in costs as the result of a trash fire that escaped and burned nearly 458 acres of woodland this past weekend.
David Jones, a forest warden with Virginia Department of Forestry, said Wiley L. Goad of Mt. Airy has been charged with carelessly and negligently damaging property by fire, a Class 4 misdemeanor that carries a $250 fine, plus firefighting costs.
Jones said the total cost of the firefighting effort has not yet been tallied, but he noted it may be “several thousand dollars.”
According to Jones, Goad burned some trash in a pit at the cabin Thursday evening. Goad thought the fire was out when he piled additional trash onto the pit Friday. Unfortunately, the fire wasn’t completely out so it rekindled.
Apparently, Goad left the property after putting additional trash in the pit.
Jones said the pit typically would have been sufficient to hold the fire, but a relative humidity of about 19 percent, combined with winds and grass growing around the pit caused the fire to spread.
The forest warden warned anyone planning to burn debris to be extra cautious this time of year due to the atmospheric conditions and winds. The 4 p.m. burn remains in effect, meaning it is unlawful to have open fires prior to 4 p.m. He noted that sometimes conditions are not even conducive to burning after 4 p.m.
Jones noted that the fire burned property belonging to about half a dozen different owners. The fire suppression costs that will be imposed against Goad do not include any civil damages that may be sought by property owners.
“We’re still keeping an eye on the fire,” Jones said, noting that there are still areas that are smoldering. “We have a containment line around it and we’re hoping it holds.”
Chip Hutchinson, Pulaski fire marshal, said the forestry department pulled out from the fire scene when the rain started Sunday. He said the fire was 100 percent contained by around 5 p.m. that day.
Firefighters from throughout the New River Valley battled the blaze for two days.
The blaze was first reported around 3 p.m. Friday, near Ward Lane and Julia Simpkins Road in the Irish Mountain area of Pulaski County. Hutchinson said it was covering an area of about 30 to 50 acres at that time, but had spread to about 100 acres by 9 a.m. Saturday.
Hutchinson estimated about 40 firefighters were on the scene Saturday evening, with others on standby at a nearby fire station. He noted several homes were threatened by the fire, but firefighters were able to protect them.
In addition to Hiwassee Fire Department, others on the scene included forestry officials from Abingdon and Salem, and forestry strike teams including firefighters from Pulaski, Giles, Wythe and Carroll counties, and a Blue Ridge Strike Team.

The effort included at least two dozer crews, two forestry engines, two hand crews and a helicopter.

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Carolina man charged in 458-acre Pulaski fire

A North Carolina man who has a cabin in the Allisonia area could face thousands of dollars in costs as the result of a trash fire that escaped and burned nearly 458 acres of woodland this past weekend.
David Jones, a forest warden with Virginia Department of Forestry, said Wiley L. Goad of Mt. Airy has been charged with carelessly and negligently damaging property by fire, a Class 4 misdemeanor that carries a $250 fine, plus firefighting costs.
Jones said the total cost of the firefighting effort has not yet been tallied, but he noted it may be “several thousand dollars.”
According to Jones, Goad burned some trash in a pit at the cabin Thursday evening. Goad thought the fire was out when he piled additional trash onto the pit Friday. Unfortunately, the fire wasn’t completely out so it rekindled.
Apparently, Goad left the property after putting additional trash in the pit.
Jones said the pit typically would have been sufficient to hold the fire, but a relative humidity of about 19 percent, combined with winds and grass growing around the pit caused the fire to spread.
The forest warden warned anyone planning to burn debris to be extra cautious this time of year due to the atmospheric conditions and winds. The 4 p.m. burn remains in effect, meaning it is unlawful to have open fires prior to 4 p.m. He noted that sometimes conditions are not even conducive to burning after 4 p.m.
Jones noted that the fire burned property belonging to about half a dozen different owners. The fire suppression costs that will be imposed against Goad do not include any civil damages that may be sought by property owners.
“We’re still keeping an eye on the fire,” Jones said, noting that there are still areas that are smoldering. “We have a containment line around it and we’re hoping it holds.”
Chip Hutchinson, Pulaski fire marshal, said the forestry department pulled out from the fire scene when the rain started Sunday. He said the fire was 100 percent contained by around 5 p.m. that day.
Firefighters from throughout the New River Valley battled the blaze for two days.
The blaze was first reported around 3 p.m. Friday, near Ward Lane and Julia Simpkins Road in the Irish Mountain area of Pulaski County. Hutchinson said it was covering an area of about 30 to 50 acres at that time, but had spread to about 100 acres by 9 a.m. Saturday.
Hutchinson estimated about 40 firefighters were on the scene Saturday evening, with others on standby at a nearby fire station. He noted several homes were threatened by the fire, but firefighters were able to protect them.
In addition to Hiwassee Fire Department, others on the scene included forestry officials from Abingdon and Salem, and forestry strike teams including firefighters from Pulaski, Giles, Wythe and Carroll counties, and a Blue Ridge Strike Team.

The effort included at least two dozer crews, two forestry engines, two hand crews and a helicopter.

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