On April 14, 2018 the Fort A.P. Hill Fire Department responded to wildfire on HWY 17 near Jeb Stuart Road. The cause of the wildfire was a downed power line on Jeb Stuart Road. The wildfire was not caused by the prescribed burn also held on Saturday. Rappahannock Electric Coop repaired the line and the fire was extinguished late Sunday morning.
The fire was directly attacked from Highway 17 by our team to prevent the fire from leaving the Fort A.P. Hill boundary. Highway 17 was shut down for firefighter safety (operating on the roadway) and heavy smoke conditions across the road. Once the head of the fire was extinguished, all personnel relocated inside Fort A.P. Hill to contain the fire.
Virginia Code § 10.1 – 1142, commonly known as the Burn Law, dictates specific dates and times when burning is allowed. The law also provides specifics for prescribed burning. VA Code § 10.1-1150.1 states fire can be set is set for “prescribed burning” that is conducted in accordance with a “prescription” and managed by a “certified prescribed burn manager.”
All Fort A.P. Hill prescribed burn personnel are certified prescribed burn managers. On the day of each planned prescribed burn the forestry office prepares and has approved a Prescribed Burn Plan, an Incident Action Plan, and a Deliberate Risk Assessment.
Local offices are notified including the Caroline, King George and Spotsylvania County Forestry offices and Dispatch Centers. The mayor’s office in Bowling Green and Port Royal are also notified as well as the Regional Forester and VA Dept. of Environmental Quality.
Forestry personnel are also trained to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group Standards for wildland fire fighters.
Forester Mark Books uses an ATV mounted torch to ignite a prescribed burn to reduce fuels in the Fort A.P. Hill range complex. The objective of fuel reduction prescribed burns are to prevent wildfires that can be caused by live fire training.
The Garrison also has two fully manned Fire Departments 24 hours a day, year round. Duty firefighters are on standby should any prescribed burn fire leave the parameters of the burn block.
Fort A.P. Hill has a memorandum of agreement with Caroline County to provide Fire and EMS support if needed. Caroline County dispatch can request assistance should a wildfire start in any part of the County.
The prescribed burn season has ended. The next burn season will begin mid-October and end April 14 2019.
For notices in advance, about prescribed burns, noise alerts and other important information from the Garrison, sign up for Caroline Alert at https://member.everbridge.net/ and check the Fort A.P. Hill check box.