Wind played pivotal role in Sugar Grove wildfire, officials say

SHAWSVILLE, Va. – We are still under a burn ban through the rest of April and this weekend, we got another example of why. A brush fire in Shawsville burned more than 260 acres, forcing the evacuation of some homes.

“The wind conditions were horrible that day,” said Billy Hanks, chief of Christiansburg Fire and Emergency Services. “We had 30 mile-an-hour and 40 mile-an-hour sustained winds all day long.”

The Christiansburg Fire Department battled a brush fire in the Sugar Grove area in Montgomery County over the weekend.

“We had about 50 acres of woods on fire at that time,” Hanks said.

As the day continued, the wind refused to let up.

“When you have 30 and 40-mile-an-hour sustained winds, and the underbrush and pine tree situation that we had on the mountain, it’s just hard to get ahead of it,” Hanks said.

The fire started to spread, closing in on some homes.

“We evacuated them for precautionary measures just so that the fire wouldn’t get to us and then we’d have to start thinking what we were going to do,” Hanks said.

I talked to some folks who live on the mountain and they said the smoke was overwhelming.

“I came up here to this property and immediately realized this whole area right here was filled with smoke,” said Spencer Doran, who lives on the mountain.

He said while they did not have to evacuate, seeing the emergency departments and everything going on was scary.

“Our home is right here is the first thing,” said Doran. “It was like, ‘Wow, this is really getting really close,’ and the thoughts of—you know we actually took belongings out of here, it kind of got to that.”

Officials with the Christiansburg Fire Department said in situations like this, if they have to evacuate you, a firefighter will come to your door.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

About the Author

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.

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