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Three Loch Raven Watershed Fires Under Investigation; Officials Caution Against Setting Outdoor Fires

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) -- Baltimore County fire officials are investigating three woodland fires that happened recently in the Loch Raven watershed area over the last few weeks.The first fire broke out on Nov. 20 on the 9990 block of Loch Raven Drive and burned through two acres of brush.The second blaze happened on Nov. 29 on the 10600 block of Harford Rd. It burned three acres on a hillside.A third fire happened on Wednesday, just off of High Country Road and burned 3/4 of an acre of woodland.Kyle Ham reported the most recent fire after he saw it outside his home."I came downstairs, looked out the back window and saw smoke," he said.Ham then ran outside and saw a couple who told him they had just seen a man drive away in a yellow Toyota."He was stomping his foot on the ground there in the leaves and when he saw them he took off running," said Ham.Both Ham and Baltimore County Fire Department officials do not believe that the most recent fire is connected to the other two and they do not think it was set on purpose."They did not find any evidence of intentional fire setting in this case," said Elise Armacost, the public affairs director for the fire department.Armacost says it is the time of year when it is common to see woodland fires."It's not unusual at all. The reason for that is that conditions are perfect for them," she said.Dry, breezy conditions coupled with ignition on the ground for a fire, like leaves and tree debris, could easily start one, she told WJZ."What we really are asking people to do is to use extreme caution in these conditions, this is not a good time to be having an outdoor fire," said Armacost.Ham told WJZ that he is grateful that the fire did not hurt anyone or damage his home."We feel like we kind of dodged a bullet," he said.If you have any information about any of the fires, you are asked to call the Baltimore County Police Department Arson Team at (410) 887-4870.

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