STAR CITY, W.Va. Among the many area volunteer fighters that have answered the call to assist with fires in Hardy, Grant, Hampshire, and Pendleton Counties, five are from the Star City Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Justin Knotts told WAJR News that his five volunteers are in Hardy County, where firefighters are battling three fires.

“They needed help with whatever operations they had going on at the time,” Knotts said. “I know some people were covering regular 911 calls that didn’t have anything to do with the fire, and they also needed help with brush fire operations.”

Knotts said cell communications with his crew have been sporadic, but through text messages, he has learned they are on the ground helping to protect property.

“They were given the job of digging fire lines, bringing the area down to bare earth around houses that had not been affected by the fire in an effort to protect them,” Knotts said.

The volunteers from Star City plan to stay and help with the fight for at least a few days. Knotts said they contacted former members of the Star City Volunteer Fire Department that work in Hardy County prior to making the trip.

“We have some former members of the fire department that are residents of Hardy and Grant Counties now,” Knotts said. “They contacted them before they went out there to make sure they had a place to stay if they needed it.”

On MetroNews “Talkline,” West Virginia Division of Forestry Director Jeremy Jones said the Grace Mountain Fire alone is about 600 to 700 acres, and several structures have been destroyed. Two other major fires—the Moore Run Fire and the Capon Fire—both involve more than 1,000 acres.

“The high winds we had yesterday and the dry conditions we’ve had recently,” Knotts said. “You put all that together, and it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Strict burning regulations are in effect statewide through May 31, and they specify only leaves, brushes, and yard clippings can be burned during this period.

“Only burn natural vegetation; don’t burn cardboard or things like that,” Knotts said. “Cardboard produces a lot of ash that can start a fire pretty easily in weather conditions like we’re having.”