Low humidity and winds contributed to a stubborn brush fire in Franklin Township on Tuesday afternoon.
The West Grove Fire Company was dispatched to a reported brush fire to the rear of 26 Parsons Road at 2:30pm. Firefighters from the station at Nichol Park in nearby London Britain Township could see the smoke header from the fire at the station as they responded.
WGFC deployed Engines 22-3, 22-2 and 22-1, along with Brush 22 and Tanker 22. Engine 22-3 arrived at the dispatched address and found a brush fire line burning behind the home and rapidly advancing in the wind up the hill in woods and heavy brush. Brush 22 made access behind the home and crews started working the advancing fire line.
With the fire moving south and uphill, additional WGFC units responded to the nearest access at the top of the hill -- on McMaster Blvd. behind the Ducklings Early Learning Center. Brush 22 was repositioned to the top of the hill and crews started to address the fire line which advanced to the woods just north of the fence line of the adjacent vineyard.
Chief 22 requested ATVs from Longwood, Kennett Square and Po-Mar-Lin (Unionville) fire companies for support as the fire area had extended beyond five acres and there was a lot of ground to cover. He also asked for a second brush truck which came from Oxford along with Engine 21-1. The ATVs are equipped with water tanks, pumps and hoses and can access rough terrain. Firefighters used rakes and shovels working the fire line to knock down the advancing fire. When the ATVs arrived at McMaster Blvd. they came into the fire ground and were used to extinguish burning trees and debris and assure the fire would not restart.
Crews faced heavy brush and multiple burning trees, several of which were felled by chain saws as they presented a real hazard -- the largest of which was more than 75 feet tall and burning from the base of the tree up its core to the very top. Out at McMaster Blvd. Tanker 22 set up to supply the brush trucks and ATVs with water during the 2.5 hour incident.
WGFC acknowledges the help of two property owners who jumped in to assist with their farm tractors, which were invaluable to the firefighters as they were used to create fire stops in the heavy brush and open up access paths for the brush trucks and ATVs. The support was very much appreciated and made a real difference in knocking down the fire before it advanced into heavier woods and brush.
Crews cleared the scene around 4:45pm. with no injuries.