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Dozens Of Homes Evacuated After Wildfire In Harford County

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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JOPPA, Md. (WJZ)– Whipping winds fueled a massive wildfire in Harford County Sunday afternoon. The fire became so big it threatened nearby homes forcing a mandatory evacuation.

Derek Valcourt has more on the fire and the efforts to control it.

The evacuation impacted dozens of homeowners. The fire itself consumed more than 18 acres.

More than 100 firefighters rushed to attack a wildfire ripping through the thick woods behind Dembytown Road in Harford County.

“The actual fire started coming closer to the house,” David Bobb said.

Bobb lives along those woods and could see the flames coming from his backyard.

“Very concerned for my house my neighbor’s house, our property, our kids,” he said.

Dry conditions and low humidity fueled brush fires in this same area last week. But this time firefighters were also battling gusting winds.

“Well, the wind feeds it, so it spreads it faster than we can get on top of it,” Ryan Barrow, chief of the Harford County Volunteer Fire Department, said.

In all those, some 60 homes along the fire line were in danger.

“The cops came up and told me they were going to evacuate everybody,” Larry Higgins said.

Residents were forced to leave as firefighters battled what amounted to a four-alarm fire, bringing in help from DNR and surrounding counties.

“They evacuated our whole street,” John Kauffman said.

Worried homeowners could only wait while the firefighters ran hoses and dug trenches to keep the fire from spreading.

“Our cat’s in here and I had my boys with me and they were like, ‘What about Jada?'” Kauffman said.

In all, the fire scorched 18 acres of woods before it was brought under control. Three hours after the evacuations began, residents were allowed to return to their homes, all of them spared from damage.

Firefighters are going to be monitoring that fire over the next few days. That’s how long residents in the area can expect to smell smoke.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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