A major brush fire in Soldiers Delight Park in the Baltimore County communities of Owings Mills and Reisterstown continued to “spread fast” on Tuesday, forcing more than 20 residents to leave their homes.
Tuesday night, the park’s doors were shaking and firemen had around 90% of the fire under control.
“The Maryland Department of Natural Resources advises that the entirety of Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area is closed to the public due to an ongoing brush fire,” the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said in a social media post. “Natural Resources Police will enforce this closure until further notice.”
According to the Baltimore County Fire Department, fire teams intend to fight the brush fire all into the night.
At least 29 houses have been ordered to evacuate, according to Baltimore County Fire Lieutenant Travis Francis, and residents have been told to seek refuge at Franklin High School on Reisterstown Road.
At about 3 p.m., an eight-alarm fire broke out between Wards Chapel Road and Deer Park Drive.
Raniya Holmes, a local, said that images and videos could not reasonably capture the scale of the blaze.
She said, “It was extremely, really colorful.” In the smoke cloud, orange tones could be seen.
Francis said that more than 200 firemen are battling the still-burning blaze.
To put out the fire, the Maryland National Guard was called in.
The Tweet below from Baltimore Country Fire Department confirms the news of the fire:
Per @BaltCoEmergency fire in 5100 blk Deer Park Rd., 21117, #SoldiersDelight area, continues to spread rapidly. Avoid the area. EA pic.twitter.com/zE8Zpi4akc
— Baltimore County Fire Department (@BaltCoFire) April 4, 2023
According to a statement from Air Force Maj. Benjamin Hughes, the Maryland Army National Guard has begun carrying out water drops using a bambi bucket utilizing one of its UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Up until dusk, the aircraft engaged in water drops.
Francis said that the wind and dry weather had aided in the wildfire’s growth.
“With dry conditions, that will play a role. It is a very wooded area where it started,” Francis said. “There were reports that there were flames 150 to 300 feet in the air at some times along high-tension powerlines.”
Just got to the scene of a brush fire in Owings Mills. The smoke looks a lot less thick than it did about 10 minutes ago. Any minute now, the Fire Chief is going to be speaking to us about the fire. @wjz pic.twitter.com/xqHehsY4XI
— Kelsey Kushner (@KelseyKushnerTV) April 4, 2023
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Baltimore County Firefighters Battle Blaze Without Hydrants
Francis said that since there are no fire hydrants nearby, personnel must transport water to the fire’s location in trucks.
“This is a rural area in Baltimore County which means it doesn’t have fire hydrants so we have to draft water in on our trucks and deploy our hoses to put the fire out while our crews are hiking trails trying to get to the fire,” Francis said.
There were no reported injuries, and the fire is not presently threatening any residences. The fire destroyed one shed.
Many acres had burnt, according to Francis. “Our local governments are moving units to assist us with the fire,”
The amount of the fire damage was still unknown by Tuesday night, according to authorities, who noted that owing to the pace at which the fire was moving, it was hard to estimate how many acres it had destroyed.
Deer Park and Dolfield, Deer Park and Wards Chapel, and Deer Park Road and Berrymans Lane have all been blocked by authorities as fire teams battle the blaze.
According to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, they had been keeping an eye on the fire. He praised the 200 Carroll and Frederick County firemen for their “heroic” acts.
In a social media post, Governor Wes Moore said that he had been keeping an eye on the fire and in contact with local authorities to make sure their requirements were being fulfilled.
Moore states that they are monitoring the brush:
We are closely monitoring the brush fire that broke out this afternoon at Soldiers Delight in Owings Mills.
Our agencies are onsite and are supporting the teams of firefighters from across central Maryland who are working to contain and extinguish the blaze.
— Governor Wes Moore (@GovWesMoore) April 4, 2023
Baltimore citizens followed the advice of county authorities and sought refuge at a neighboring school, leaving some of their possessions behind.
Henry Simoni-Wastila, a local resident, said he just brought the essentials.
“I was, like, oh my gosh, it’s serious,” he said. “We immediately got the cat in the carrier, passport, wallet, phones, and left.”
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