CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dry, windy conditions kept firefighters busy across the region Saturday, as the area enters another day under a Red Flag warning from the National Weather Service.
The warning signals increased fire danger across the region, and is in effect until Sunday afternoon, according to the advisory.
Firefighters responded to several fires across Mecklenburg County Saturday, including two brush fires.
One, off Allison Ferry Road, started in a field behind a house. Forestry officials are investigating whether discarded ashes from a fireplace could be the cause.
The fire burned about two acres before it was put out.
Another fire in the area of McKee Road and Providence Road scorched a narrow path between two rows of townhomes in the Covington at Providence neighborhood off Rabbit Ridge Road.
The fire burned acres of grass, cable boxes, and even siding on two homes. No one was hurt.
“It just shocked me, I slept through the whole thing!” said Lane Edwards, still in his bathrobe and slippers because he works the overnight shift. The flames licked the siding off the outside of his bedroom wall as he slept. They didn’t get inside.
“Dodged a big bullet, no doubt,” he said looking at the damage. “Could have been a lot worse.”
Beth Sharpe said she called 911, and then went outside and grabbed her garden hose to wet down the back of her house.
“You don't expect to see that in your back yard every day, and they spread rather quickly,” said Sharpe. She called 911.
“And with the wind it picked up and just shot down the back yard so I -- after getting off the phone with 911 -- got a hose and came out with the other neighbors,” she said. “They were all doing the same thing.”
Firefighters didn’t determine a cause, but said dry, windy conditions didn’t help.
“It's an excellent environment for a fire to propagate, fire to grow -- and grow unchecked,” said Huntersville Fire Dept. spokesman Bill Suthard.
Fire officials said the safest way to avoid fires during red flag conditions is to keep bonfires, fire pits, cigarette butts, or even fireplace ashes squelched.
“The number one foolproof way to prevent a wildfire or brushfire tonight is just not burn anything,” said Suthard.