The fire was called in late last night as a smoke report by a citizen at the base of Bent Mountain. Firefighters responded and soon realized the smoke was coming from the top of the mountain.
The fire is currently contained to a 15-20 acre area around the 8600 block of Bent Mountain Road and between Willet Road and Poor Mountain Road.
Overnight, there were a total of 40 Roanoke County Fire & Rescue career and volunteer firefighters from the Bent Mountain, Cave Spring, Hollins and Masons Cove stations on scene working to contain the fire by digging hand lines. Crews also worked to protect eight nearby homes.
The eight homes were near the fire area and firefighters were especially concerned about two of the homes that were very close to the burning brush. Officials even had to evacuate the residences from one of the homes and brought them to the Bent Mountain Fire & Rescue Station overnight. They have now been allowed to return to their home. Fire crews protected the two homes by placing a tanker truck in front of them to defend them in case the flames jumped the containment lines. Crews also created a defensible space around all of the eight homes by clearing leaves and debris away from the home.
The Virginia Department of Forestry has also been on scene using a bulldozer to reinforce a stronger containment line around the fire. The terrain is mountainous but not too steep for the bulldozer and firefighters to get around.
Initially, what produced the heavy smoke seen over the Valley were huge piles of fallen trees approximately the size of a large house that were burning. The trees were leftover from when a clearing took place several years ago for the power line right-of-way.
Currently, there are close to 20 County personnel on scene working to reinforce the containment lines and mop up throughout the day. Crews are continuing to keep an eye on the winds and the lack of humidity.
Because this is private property, Roanoke County investigators will now begin to explore what sparked this fire.