Homeowners in more than two dozen homes were told to evacuate because of a large brush fire that continues to “spread rapidly” at Soldiers Delight Park in the Owings Mills and Reisterstown areas of Baltimore County, firefighters said Tuesday afternoon.
By Tuesday evening, firefighters had contained roughly 60% to 70% of the fire, and the park had shuttered its doors.
“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.”
Baltimore County Fire Lieutenant Travis Francis said evacuees of at least 29 homes are directed to Franklin High School on Reisterstown Road.
The eight-alarm fire started around 3 p.m. in the area of Deer Park Road and Wards Chapel Road.
Francis said more than 200 firefighters are helping to battle the fire, which has not been fully contained.
The Maryland National Guard was deployed to drop water on the fire.
Air Force Maj. Benjamin Hughes said in a statement that the Maryland Army National Guard has been using one of its UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to execute water drops with a bambi bucket. The helicopter participated in water drops until twilight.
Francis said the dry conditions and wind have spurred the spread of the wildfire.
“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.”
Francis also said there are no hydrants in the area, so crews have to shuttle water in trucks and deliver it to the site of the fire.
“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.
No injuries were reported, and currently, no homes have been in the path of the fire. One shed was burned by the fire.
“Quite a few acres have burned,” Francis said. “Our local jurisdictions are helping by transferring unites to help us with the fire.”
By Tuesday night, officials still had not determined the extend of the fire damage, noting that it was difficult to gauge the amount of acres it had burned due to the speed at which it was traveling.
Officials have closed the following roads: Deer Park and Dolfield roads; Deer Park and Wards Chapel roads and Deer Park Road and Berrymans Lane.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said Tuesday that they had been monitoring the fire. He called the actions of two hundred firefighters from Carroll and Frederick counties “heroic.”
Gov. Wes Moore said in a social media post that he had been monitoring the fire and in touch with local officials to make sure their needs are met.