News, Public Saftey

Heat and dry conditions fed Hancock brush fire

by Geoff Fox

About 30 firefighters from multiple fire departments in the tri-state area responded to a brush fire on Millstone Road on Wednesday, September 6.

A firefighter sprays an area of a 7-acre brush fire last Wednesday, September 6.
picture courtesy Frederick County Wildland Team

According to Hancock Fire Chief Robert Hoopengardner, the call came in at 2:24 p.m. that afternoon.

A post from Hancock Volunteer Fire Company on September 6 said “approximately seven acres off spreading fast” and multiple units were working the area.

The post also warned people to stay clear of the Millstone Road area.

According to Washington County MD Fire Calls on Facebook, by 4:40 p.m., at least 100 responders were on the scene.

Hoopengardner said firefighters from Hancock, Clear Spring, Great Cacapon, Needmore, McConnellsburg, Williamsport, Boonsboro, “and others” responded on scene.

“It was very thick brush and took us approximately an hour and a half to contain the fire, we were there around five hours putting out hot spots,” Hoopengardner said.

With the heat of the day in the upper 90s, Hoopengardner said that heat did factor with the firefighters battling the fire.

He said they needed to take more breaks than they usually would because of overheating and “the sun and the heat had everything heated up and dry which let everything burn faster and ignite brush easier.”

Hoopengardner added there were live pine trees that had all the pine needles burned “completely off” and flames 20 to 25 feet tall when trees would catch on fire.