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Harford County

Brush fire in Street area Thursday goes to three alarms

Fire companies from northern Harford County, Cecil County and southern York County, Pa., battled a multi-alarm brush fire in the Street area of Harford Thursday afternoon.

The first call for the brush fire in the 1200 block of Macton Road came in around 12:40 p.m., and the fire went to two alarms within 30 minutes. The fire went to three alarms about 2:30 p.m., the Harford Fire & EMS Association reported on its Facebook page.


The fire began in a brush pile on a horse farm and extended into some nearby woods, according to David Wolfe, who lives with his family on the farm and takes care of the property.

At 2:45 p.m., the range of the fire had extended north toward Prospect Road, and firefighters were using off-road equipment to deal with several hot spots.


The second area of fire was in the in 3800 block of Prospect Road, over the hill from the farm where it started, according to Rich Gardiner, spokesman for Harford Fire & EMS.

Gardiner said the fire at both sites was under control around 4:40 p.m.

Matt Barben, chief of the Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company, said about 100 firefighters responded to a blaze that stretched into two fire company jurisdictions.

The Darlington Volunteer Fire Company was the lead agency where the fire started on Macton Road, and Whiteford was the lead as the fire spread through the woods toward Prospect Road.

No firefighters or civilians were injured, but Barben said a shed and a vehicle were damaged on the Macton Road side.

The fire was contained to the woods along Prospect, he added.

For more than an hour, firefighters could be seen spraying down hot spots and going into the woods carrying chain saws and rakes.

"We've been treating it as a wildland fire; we had to cut some trees down because of fires high in the trees," Barben explained.


Mike Laslo, public information officer for the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company, said the fire burned "roughly" five acres, causing mostly "surface damage," with dead leaves and twigs burning up.

He said the blaze damaged part of a shed on the Macton Road farm, and a vehicle there was a "total loss."

He said it would be up to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources police to charge Wolfe with anything related to the fire.

"I'm sick to my stomach right now," a distraught Wolfe said at the scene.

He thanked a firefighter who walked past him.

"I apologize to all my neighbors for all the trouble," he said.


Laslo said the combination of low humidity, sunny skies and high winds Thursday afternoon were "prime" conditions for a wildfire.

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"The conditions were prime for wildfires today and the wind just kept pushing the fire further and further," he said.

The fire moved up the steep wooded hills from the farm, and Laslo said those steep hills contributed to the quick spread of fire because the wind speeds up at the lower ground level and pushes the flames uphill.

Fire companies sending personnel included Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air, Darlington, Delta-Cardiff, Level, Susquehanna Hose, Norrisville and Whiteford in Harford County, Craley and Fawn Grove in Pennsylvania and Water Witch in Cecil County.

The Harford County Department of Emergency Services reported on its Twitter account that Macton Road, Prospect Road, Mill Green Road and Davis Corner Road were closed and drivers should expect delays. Some roads were still closed past 5 p.m.

Harford County Public Schools rerouted school buses transporting students from North Harford area schools because of road closures and fire activity, the department also tweeted.


The weather Thursday was sunny, dry and breezy, conditions ripe for fires to spread. Earlier in the day, firefighters battled a brush fire in the Jarrettsville area.

While the fire in Street was being fought the department of emergency services tweeted: "Reminder from the [National Weather Service], outdoor opening burning today is very hazardous."