November 2016 Nelson County and Amherst County VA Brush Fires

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Nelson County
Part of the Eades Hollow fire in Lovingston. Photo (11-24-2016) copyright Robert D. McNeish

During November 2016—the 19th—a major fire, burning thousands of acres of woodland, began, or at least was first reported, in Amherst County, Virginia. This wasn’t the only forest fire in the vicinity, however. Adjacent Nelson County, too, was the scene of a fire that began on November 20th—the very next day. It has received considerably less media attention than the Amherst fire. Why is that?

Scope and Magnitude

Progressively, the Lovingston fire was listed as affecting 40 acres, then 450 acres, then 1,000 acres (as of November 23, 2016). Initially, the Amherst fire was reported to have affected a mere 25 acres. But by the time Lovingston reached 1,000 acres, Amherst had escalated to approximately 4,400 acres. So not only had the Amherst fire started first. Its scope is far greater. See the updates, below.1,2

What about its magnitude? Magnitude refers to intensity. If a fire becomes intense, it consumes trees and not merely underlying brush. A brush fire becomes a wildfire! The Nelson and Amherst fires appear to be brush fires at this point, fortunately.

Nelson County
Extent of Eades Hollow Fire as of 11-24-2016. Image ForestryVA

It’s Not All Over Yet, Nelson County!

Both of the fires remained ongoing. Would the fires, at some point, increase in magnitude? The next several days would tell the story. Nelson approached close to containment. Amherst had not reached that state. Amherst came close to the point of evacuation. What about Nelson? Would trees become involved? If so, the small Lovingston community of Green Acres would be endangered. One thing was certain: if such a thing did happen, the media would jump on the Nelson County bandwagon.

Does it sound as if the author hoped that would be the case? No, not at all. Still, it seems to be, that when something happens in Nelson County, Virginia, little notice is taken. It would be good if everyone did his part in listening to burning rubbish warnings. Let’s hope Nelson is not in the news again for either a brush or a wildfire.

1 As of 11-25-2016, the Nelson fire reached approximately 1600 acres before full containment. Smoke and drifting ash particles disappeared with rain. The Amherst fire reached 8500 acres, or 30% containment.

2 As of 11-26-2016, Nelson was pretty much a done deal, whereas the Amherst fire was up to 11,000 acres and would continue slightly longer.

Note: You might also enjoy Mysterious St. Elmo’s Fire

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