Fire scorches Sedley woods

Published 8:24 am Friday, July 30, 2010

SEDLEY—Between 50 and 60 firefighters from across Southampton County responded to a Wednesday fire that burned between 15 and 18 wooded acres in Sedley.

The fire at Unity and Ivor roads started at about 9 a.m., said Minnie Rose, an emergency medical service lieutenant with the Sedley Volunteer Fire Department.

Rose said the extremely dry conditions helped the fire spread through the young pine trees.

“With the pine straw and the leaves and everything on the ground being dry, it just rapidly went through and then the wind just pushed (the fire),” she said.

Rose said the forestry department came out and cut a firebreak around the fire on Wednesday, but the fire jumped the line twice.

Firefighters were still on the scene late Wednesday night and some returned Thursday to monitor the fire.

“It’s still got some embers,” Rose said Thursday morning. “Right now, we’ve got it contained, but we’re just having to monitor it very closely.”

Rose said the fire appears to have started near the roadway, which leads officials to believe it may have been sparked by a cigarette thrown from a passing car.

No dwellings were in danger on Thursday, but Rose warned that could change if the fire jumped the line again.

“If it jumps again, there are some structures that are possibly going to be in danger,” she said.

Rose said the fire danger from discarded cigarettes or open fires wouldn’t diminish until the area sees significant rainfall.

“We’ve got to have a good saturating rain for hours,” she said. “It can’t just be a sprinkle.”

Volunteer firefighters from Ivor, Courtland, Hunterdale and Branchville, as well as Ivor Rescue, assisted Sedley firefighters.