Wind-Fueled Fires Scorch Region

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mary Davidson

    The fires spread by Saturday's high winds continue to burn in some pockets around the region Sunday.  Over a thousand acres caught fire in over a hundred separate incidents.

    The mulch plant that caught fire yesterday in Laurel, Md. continued to burn on Sunday.  The plant contained over 100 piles of mulch, each 30-feet high.  The smoke from the blaze brought visibility on Route 95 down to zero on Saturday afternoon, and traffic was diverted for several hours.  A hundreds of fire personnel from multiple companies were on the scene.  The fire got so hot that water hose lines were catching fire.

    Smoke Hanging Over Rt. 95 in Prince George's

    [DC] Smoke Hanging Over Rt. 95 in Prince George's
    Smoke from brush fires Saturday hangs over driving lanes of Route 95 near the Inter-County Connector. Video via Luis Marcano. (Published Saturday, Feb 19, 2011)

    "It is safe to say that Saturday, February 19, 2011, will be remembered as one of the busiest days in our history," said Prince George's County fire spokesperson Mark Brady.

    Brush fires flared in the Occoquan Forest area in Virginia.  One unoccupied house was destroyed.  Dominion Power was working on Sunday to restore power, which many residents lost during the fires.  Despite the proliferation of blazes, no injuries were reported.

    Brush Fire Damages Several Buildings

    [DC] Brush Fire Damages Several Buildings
    125 firefighters worked to put out a brush fire that quickly extended in Clinton, Md. damaging several buildings. (Published Saturday, Feb 19, 2011)

    In Clinton, Md., two dozen homes were damaged by brush fires.  Residents used buckets and water hoses to keep the fires from creeping across backyards.

    In Dale City, a homeless man was charged with starting a trash fire that blazed out of control.  The interstate there was shut down on Saturday afternoon while responders struggled to contain brush fires.

    Strong and Dangerous Winds

    [DC] Strong and Dangerous Winds
    Saturday's strong winds felled trees and spread wildfire in Montgomery County. (Published Sunday, Feb 20, 2011)

    High winds toppled many trees around the region, obstructing road ways and causing property damage.  Among the felled trees was the National Christmas Tree, which has stood in the Ellipse behind the White House since 1978.  Nobody was injured when the trunk of the 42-foot tree split.  Crews have already removed and mulched the Colorado blue spruce, and the National Park Service said they have identified a replacement.

    Pepco reported wide-spread outages across the region, due to power lines brought down by the wind.  The power company said the most outages took place on noon Saturday, when 12,000 customers were without power.  Additional work crews from neighboring states have been brought into the region to help restore power.