A wildfire that broke out in the Hoffman area was contained Monday after burning 72 acres and endangering two homes.
According to Richmond County Ranger Tim McFayden and Assistant Ranger Matt Gordon, private forest land and a small portion of the Sandhills Game Lands off of Highway U.S. 1 north of Rockingham Speedway between Marston and Hoffman were burned when a debris burn was left unattended.
McFayden said a man burned debris a week before, and the fire was never fully put out. Smoldering remains of the fire continued to stay hot for a week, and a lack of humidity plus high winds stoked the fire until it burned out of control. The man responsible called the North Carolina Forest Service of Richmond County when he saw the fire had spread out of control. He received a written warning.
“We use it as an opportunity to educate people about controlling their fires,” said McFayden.
It took eight men four hours with two bulldozers, one scout plane and one helicopter to put out the fire that burned from Lakeside Drive in Marston towards the Shenandoah Private Subdivision, according to Gordon. Two single-family homes were in the path of the fire, and measures taken by the Forest Service prevented damages of $500,000.
The entire effort cost the Forest Service of Richmond County approximately $5,000, according to Gordon.
Patrol Pilot Andrew Hillert had his plane in the air within the minutes following the call to the Forest Service about the fire, followed closely by helicopter pilot Dave Spooner.
McFayden said he and Spooner examined the burn area again Tuesday morning from the air, and spotted several smaller fires across the county line in Scotland County. The Forest Service there was notified of the fires and has since responded to them, according to McFayden.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.