Flames Roar Across Southern Ross County After Man-Made Fire Spreads

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UPDATED: Tuesday April 1, 2014 11:43 PM

A homeowner is in trouble after fire crews say she is responsible for a 35 acre brush fire.

Firefighters in four counties battled wind-fueled brush fires on Tuesday.

The Franklin Township Fire Chief said, at the time of that fire, there was another burning in Ross County and two others just south of there, in Pike county.

Winds pushed more than 35 miles per hour in Southern Ross County.

For Ross County resident Mike Martin, this meant putting a project on hold. For his neighbor, a much more serious set of problems.

"You could see it on the back side of the hill there. It was really coming up in heavy plumes," said Martin.

It was a brush fire that spread quickly through Scioto Trail State Park and it was a challenge for firefighters to put out.

"I had flames 20 feet plus in the air, 34 plus a ground fire and some canopy fire," said Franklin Township Fire Chief, Mike Menendez.

Nine fire departments were called in to contain the fire. The Division of Forestry put two bulldozers to work to create a fire break to stop the flames from spreading.
 Despite this effort, nearly a dozen homes including Martin's, were evacuated.

"They were afraid it was going to jump and that's what the Sheriff said. We can't predict anything. We just need to get out as quick as possible just to be on the safe side," said Martin.

Even with months of snow and rain, investigators say high winds and a dry surface caused that fire to spread quickly, charring the grounds of 35 acres of the state park.

"The wind speeds that we have today moved very quickly. The area behind me probably burned in 10 minutes," said Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Nick Appleman.

Officer Appleman says the fire was man-made and caused by someone leaving a trash fire unattended.

"When it's like this, you don't burn. You just deal with it because you see the consequences," said Martin.

Investigators say the homeowner will be cited for the fire.  She told 10TV she had a small bon fire last night and checked it twice. She thought it was out.

She tells 10TV she was shocked to see the fire spread.

Ohio has laws to prevent controlled burns in your backyard from getting out of control.

State law prohibits outdoor burns in March, April, May, October, and November between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The ban includes burning yard waste, trash and debris, even if it's in a burn barrel.

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