Two wildfires that burned a combined 20 acres kept firefighters from York County and Maryland busy Sunday.
The blazes in Fawn and East Manchester townships happened on one of the first spring-like days of the year, and officials are blaming the fires on careless burning.
Firefighters were dispatched to Starview Sportsmen's Association, 501 Jerusalem School Road in East Manchester Township just before 3 p.m.
Less than 10 minutes later, firefighters in the southern part of the county were dispatched to a woods fire along the 8800 block of Woodbine Road in Fawn Township. Crews from Maryland were also dispatched to that blaze.
Dry vegetation and winds fueled and fanned the flames, officials said.
Windy: Nearly 30 fire departments, including the Southern York County and Eastern York County forest fire crews, were dispatched to the East Manchester Township fire, said Joe Stevens, Manchester fire chief.
He estimated the fire burned 10 acres before crews were able to put it out.
Gusty winds didn't help firefighters' efforts.
"With the wind, it was made for a bad day," Stevens said. "It (the fire) kept leaping."
Stevens said the fire started as someone was burning cardboard in a burn barrel and the fire escaped the barrel.
The blaze started in the eastern end of a field, and winds pushed flames west and burned around high-tension power line towers but the towers were not damaged.
Crews had difficulty getting equipment back a narrow lane and down a dirt path on a hill that was muddy at sections, but firefighters had the fire out by about 5 p.m. Three tractors were also used in firefighting efforts.
"For as big as it was and as fast-moving, we were lucky today," Stevens said.
Hilly: Wind and a hill also played a factor in the wild fire in mostly wooded area in Fawn Township.
That fire also burned an estimated 10 acres, said Scott Dickson, Fawn Grove fire chief.
Crews were dispatched there just after 3 p.m., and wind whipping over the hill fanned the flames. Dickson estimated that 80 firefighters were called to the scene.
"We had to use almost 1,000 feet of hose to get to where the fire was," he said.
Burn with caution: Despite snow that fell on York County last week, conditions are ripe for wild fires this time of year, said Corey Greene, Special Assistant Warden for Southern York County Forest Fire Crew.
Dead, dry vegetation will burn quickly if it comes in contact with flames or embers.
"Don't think that just because it rained and snowed it won't catch fire," Greene said.
People who plan on burning materials outside should call their municipal office to check on burning restrictions, said Joe Stevens, Manchester fire chief.
If residents are permitted to burn, they should call York County Control on its non-emergency line at 717-840-2971 to report a controlled burn.
Materials should be placed in a barrel, and a screen should be placed over its opening once the materials are alight to keep embers and ashes from flying out. If not using a barrel, keep flammable materials as far from the fire as possible, Greene said.
Never leave a fire unattended and keep a hose, shovel and rake handy to put out any flames that spread from the fire, Stevens said.
Residents should also be mindful of the weather. If the humidity is low and winds are gusty, it's best to hold off burning until another day, Greene said.
- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.