MENDOTA, VA (WJHL) – One of the biggest fires burning in our region right now is in Southwest Virginia. It first ignited Sunday in Washington County in the Mendota community west of Abingdon.
Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry said while the 800-acre wildfire is now considered to be 100% contained, they are still monitoring the flames around the clock.
With fires like this continuing to plague the region, Washington County, VA remains under a burn ban.
County leaders banned all outdoor burning last week.
In just the past few days, deputies say they’ve seen people ignoring the warnings.
Wednesday evening, we rode along with Patrol Lieutenant Dewey Fulton who said they’ve stepped up patrols to enforce this ban.
Lt. Fulton said they are aware that just one spark in these dry conditions could ignite a much bigger problem.
“It’s the driest that I can ever remember. People are at work and they are trying to get something done in their yard when they get home, so we are just driving around trying to, I guess concentrate a little bit more on that, look for the smoke,” Fulton said.
Virginia Department of Forestry crews like natural resource specialist Randy Fleming said they’re only able to do so much.
“We have a lot of issues of little spot fires or embers going across our fire lines,”Fleming said.
Fleming said the cause of the 800-acre fire in Mendota is still under investigation.
State and local firefighters on the front line hope this is a reminder, what’s happening in Mendota, can happen anywhere.
“If it wasn’t for those individuals enforcing the law, I am sure we would probably have more fires around, which is why we are encouraging people not to burn at all until we get rain,” Fleming said.
Wednesday afternoon Washington County, Virginia Sheriff Fred Newman said at least four people have been charged with violating the burn ban since Monday.
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