Brush fires plagued county Monday

Conditions were right for brush fires Monday and Warren County firefighters responded to five fires over a three-hour stretch of the afternoon.

Crews from all over the county answered the calls to fires in Spring Creek Township, Pittsfield Township, Wrightsville, Irvine, and Tiona.

All of the fires started outside in dry conditions. Two spread to nearby structures.

The first fire call, a brush fire at 4344 Oil Creek Road, Spring Creek Township, came in at 12:58 p.m.

Responders headed to 6900 Route 27 in Pittsfield Township when the second brush fire was called in at 2:26 p.m.

The last three fires were all reported within a 45-minute period.

At 3:20 p.m., a brush fire broke out at 22 Peterson Hill Road, Wrightsville.

An outside fire spread to two garages at 846 National Forge Road in Irvine at 3:44 p.m., according to the Warren County 911 Center.

At 165 School St., Tiona, a resident was home at the time fire spread from nearby grass to his residence and another building at 4:02 p.m.

The resident was transported by City of Warren ambulance to Warren General Hospital for treatment after he inhaled smoke from the fire, according to Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Chief Andy Jones.

The Clarendon department was already spread thin from its ongoing handling of the 7:35 a.m. tractor-trailer roll-over on Route 59.

The Tiona fire initially went out as a grass fire. Responders, hearing the type of fire, dressed in the appropriate gear to handle a brush fire, according to Jones. When they arrived to find a partially involved structure, some had to change.

Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department Chief William Dilley said it was possible that an arcing power line ignited the grass.

Jones agreed that the power line was a possible cause, but that an official cause had not been determined as of 5:30 p.m.

The fire danger warning sign in front of the Allegheny National Forest office in Conewango Township indicated a high level of danger Monday.

Although there was rain in the forecast for Monday night, officials expect the fire danger to remain elevated Tuesday.

Not all of Monday’s fires were the result of burning that got out of control, but officials strongly caution against burning.

“Don’t burn,” Dilley said. “Not right at this time. Not at least for three or four days.”

“They shouldn’t be burning,” Jones said.

“Quit burning,” Warren County Public Safety Director Todd Lake said. “It’s dry out.”