April 05, 2023

Update, April 20:

The Department of Natural Resources' Maryland Forest Service has revised the number of acres burned to 321.4 acres. (The original estimate of 700 acres was based on drone footage. The revised estimate is based on GPS and a physical assessment.)

Original release:

Yesterday's unprecedented wildland fire in Owings Mills has burned 700 acres, mostly in the Soldier's Delight Natural Environmental Area. 

Thanks to extraordinary efforts by Baltimore County career and volunteer firefighters and from state and local fire crews from across the region, no homes were destroyed and no one was seriously hurt. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.

BCoFD units cleared the scene at about 2:30 p.m. today and turned it over to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 

The 29 households that evacuated their homes yesterday have returned following a safety assessment by firefighters and the Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Fire units were dispatched at 2:52 p.m. Tuesday for a large brush fire in the 5100 block of Deer Park Rd., 21117, in the Soldier's Delight area. First-arriving crews found a large, fast-spreading fire and immediately determined that this fire was nothing like the typical Maryland brush fire, which involves a few acres at most. Fire commanders requested assistance, and the fire quickly escalated to multiple alarms.

Eight alarms were called, making this Baltimore County's largest fire event since the 1970s-era Suburban Propane explosion and fire in Upperco. At least 200 fire personnel responded to Owings Mills, including mutual aid units from every jurisdiction in the region. Assisting agencies included those from Carroll, Howard, Harford, Anne Arundel and Frederick counties and Baltimore City.

The Maryland National Guard, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forestry Service and Baltimore County Police Department's Aviation Unit also provided critical support. MNG Aviation performed multiple water drops, essential to extinguishing the fire and preventing it from restarting.

 At its height, columns of flame extended hundreds of feet in the air. Firefighters had 95 percent of the fire contained by midnight last night. They remained through the night and until this afternoon, when command was transferred to DNR.

The majority of the burn area is in Soldier's Delight, extending east to Church Road and Campitelli Court.

Protection of lives and property was the priority from the start. Two outbuildings were destroyed, and a survey today by Fire and Emergency Management found no serious damage to homes.

Ongoing Activity at the Fire Scene

Emergency Management officials said residents should expect to see activity throughout the afternoon and evening, as DNR's Forestry Service works to contain and completely extinguish the fire. Residents may see fire within the burned area. The Forestry Service may set small, controlled fires to create fire breaks -- a standard tactic for preventing the spread of wildfires.

Information about noteworthy new activity at this fire scene will be posted on Twitter, @BaltCoFire.