Bulldozer, farm equipment quell cornfield fire

Firefighters snuffed out a troublesome blaze in a cornfield Saturday evening in the area of Georgetown Road, Turkey Knob Road and Wissler Road near Mount Jackson.

Joe Lehnen, area forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry, said the fire, which started around 5 p.m., was advancing toward some houses on Georgetown Road before it was brought under control around 7:30 p.m.

Lehnen said the fire started with a combine in a large cornfield near Turkey Knob Road.

“The combine caught the dry cornfield on fire and, due to the wind and low humidity and upslope topography, the fire spread very quickly, and it was a challenge to bring it under control,” Lehnen said.

Firefighters from Mount Jackson, Edinburg, Conicville, Woodstock, New Market, the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue, Timbersville and Broadway brought the fire under control with the help of a bulldozer from the Department of Forestry and a farm tractor with a disc, Lehnen said.

“Between the two of them, we were able to put a control line around the fire and provide access to trucks so they could put some water on the fire, too,” Lehnen said of the bulldozer and disc.

Lehnen estimated the fire destroyed 32 acres of the 100-acre cornfield. The field was filled with dry, brown cornstalks six or seven feet high that complicated efforts to bring it under control.

“It was difficult to determine where the fire was heading and what it was doing,” Lehnen said. “It was virtually impossible to see for a while. You couldn’t necessarily drive a fire truck out into the standing corn safely.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com