Brush fire burns at Charles County Fairgrounds; help sent from D.C.

A two-alarm brush fire in Southern Maryland burned several barns at the Charles County Fairgrounds on Tuesday afternoon and forced the volunteer firefighting force to call for help from as far away as Washington, according to authorities.

The fire broke out on the same day that the National Weather Service warned about dry conditions and blustery winds fueling an “enhanced threat for the spread of wildfires” throughout much of Maryland and Virginia.

Details on the fire was sparse and authorities could not immediately be reached to describe how many acres had burned, the suspected cause or whether anyone was injured. The fire was still burning about 4:45 p.m.

A statement on the Charles government Web site warned that Fairgrounds Road in Bel Alton was closed to most vehicles.

It could not be determined how many firefighters responded to the fire, though all Charles County firefighters are volunteers. Lon Walls, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, said county officials requested help from the District, which sent Engine 2, Engine 4 and Truck 7, along with a deputy chief of operations. The trip is roughly 36 miles.

Mutual aid at such distances is unusual but not unheard of. In September 2010, the D.C. fire department sent at least one engine north on I-95 into West Baltimore to help on a four-alarm fire that destroyed a string of vacant rowhouses.

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