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Fires continue across Campbell County, red flag warning issued

The Watson Basin Fire, near the Fence Creek Road in Northern Campbell County, has been contained to 20 acres

A red flag warning has been issued for southern Campbell County while the number of fires burning the local countryside has climbed to more than two dozen in the last five days, officials say.

The warning encompasses the Town of Wright and remains in effect until later this evening, stating that wind gusts and low relative humidities that could dip to 15 percent have resulted in critical fire weather conditions, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Residents are advised not to burn anything outdoors, not to throw cigarettes out of a vehicle, and to avoid driving over dry grass in an effort to reduce the possibility of wildfires, per NWS.

In the last five days alone, the firefighters have responded to nearly 30 fires around Campbell County with at least one new blaze starting every day as significant drought conditions continue, according to the Campbell County Fire Department (CCFD).

The largest was the Racoon Ridge Fire that has consumed 95 acres east of Timber Creek Road and South of Highway 51, a CCFD social media post said.

As of noon, July 7, suppression efforts had the Racoon Ridge fire at 85 percent containment and firefighting resources were about to be redeployed to begin suppressing other fires that started amid overnight storms Tuesday, according to Campbell County Fire Chief Jeff Bender.

More recently, firefighters have contained the Watson Basin Fire near Fence Creek Road in northern Campbell County to 20 acres. A fire that started north of Highway 450, which burned 9 acres of private land near the Weston County line, has also been contained in addition to a four-acre fire near School Creek Road.

Additionally, in the last 12 hours, CCFD personnel have responded to and contained a plethora of small grass fires alongside Campbell County roadways. The majority of these grass fires have been contained to an acre or less, per CCFD.

While the recent moisture has helped slow the spread of the fires, Bender said, the rain doesn’t do anything about the current fuel model that is ripe for burning. The storms have also started several fires themselves, either from lightning strikes or from downed power lines caused by wind.

The red flag warning from the NWS will remain in effect until 8 p.m.