Fire in portion of Shawnee Forest

By Frank Lewis -

Greg Smith, public information officer for the Ohio Division of Forestry, said 490 acres are affected by a fire that began Monday morning in Shawnee State Forest.

“It’s in the Shawnee wilderness area, just north of the Buena Vista community,” Smith said. “It’s called the Buckhorn fire, and it’s all contained in the wilderness area.”

Smith said a control line has been established around the fire, but they are not calling it contained yet.

“There is steep terrain,” Smith said. “We have a line constructed by hand tools around most of it and then we have bulldozer line around the residences on Lower Twin Creek Road, and those homes are not being threatened. There are no other structures around, so that’s a very good thing. We were able to protect those homes.”

Smith said 44 people are battling the fire and have been since Monday morning.

“We don’t know when the fire started or the cause at this point,” Smith said.

When the Daily Times talked to Smith, it was around 4 p.m., Tuesday, and he noticed a welcome sight.

“It’s raining at the office right now,” Smith said. “I don’t know if it is raining at the fire site.”

Smith said the higher humidity Tuesday allowed the firefighters to make a lot of progress, checking for larger burning dead trees near the fire line which could cause a trap.

“The fire burned in leaf litter,” Smith said.

Smith reminded area residents this is the time of year when such events occur.

“We’re in the spring wildfire season when temperatures are high, humidities are generally lower, and we have a lot of breezes in the spring that can push the fire,” Smith said. “Therefore the fire laws are written around that.”

Smith said an easy way to remember this time of year is – No burning during the day, March, April and May.

No burning from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Burning is after 6p.m., but folks are still responsible if they have a fire,” Smith said. “We don’t want anybody to put themselves or the property or the neighbors at risk.”

Nearly 8,000 acres of the forest have been designated as wilderness. Timber is not managed. Shawnee State Forest is the largest of Ohio’s state forests. It comprises 63,747 acres in Scioto and Adams counties; 60 miles of bridle and hiking trails; 60 miles of backpacking trails; 58 horse camp sites; 8,000-acre wilderness.

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.