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Buncombe County officials on high alert for brush fires

Wednesday was a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors and get some yard work done around the house. Fire officials say the weather conditions were also ideal for brush fires. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Wednesday was a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors and get some yard work done around the house.

Fire officials say the weather conditions were also ideal for brush fires.

"We're still on high alert,” Buncombe County Emergency Services' Jerry VeHaun said.

VeHaun said if people aren’t cautious, a brush fire can spread in the blink of an eye.

“People need to be aware,” said VeHaun. “Don’t burn when its windy. If you’re burning a garden off or something else, stay with it.”

He said with the recent weather, people need to be extra careful if they plan to do any kind of controlled burning.

"Even though we had the rain, the wind dried everything up pretty quickly, so now were back to square one," VeHaun said.

On Wednesday, crews were sent to a brush fire that started in a woman’s backyard in Leicester

"As far as I know, it was a controlled burn that spread into the woods a little too far," Leicester Volunteer Fire Department Lt. James Kelly said.

Kelly said it was about a quarter acre wide, and firefighters were able to contain it in about 20 minutes.

They were assisted by several other departments in the area.

"The way we respond is, if we have a fire on the west end, then we send all the departments on the west end,” VeHaun said. “If we have one on the north end, then we send all those departments so we quickly contain that fire, so we don't have a large problem with it."

Fire officials suggest waiting to do any kind of controlled burning to prevent any more brush fires from breaking out.

“Usually, people just go inside to get a drink of water or something and when they come back out the fire has spread and that's when they call us," Kelly said.

When people start seeing more leaves on trees, things will be safer for controlled burns, VeHaun said.

VeHaun said the leaves provide more shade, which keeps things from getting too dry.

Until then, his crews are expecting more calls.

"They're on high alert, and they're ready to go," VeHaun said.

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