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75-acre brush fire shuts down 288, keeps Chesterfield firefighters busy

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)--A 75-acre fire shut down parts of Route 288 for hours during the afternoon rush hour. Adding to an already hectic commute was a separate brush fire that ignited VA-150 northbound at mile marker 17, near Midlothian.

Firefighters say Wednesday's hot, windy and dry conditions fed the brush fire.

Tapping every resource available Chesterfield firefighters and forestry officials worked at a feverish pace to keep the fire from swallowing homes off Courthouse Road and crossing 288 to a nearby business park.

Ryan Bauer, who works at Crossfit, says he and his neighbors were getting nervous as the wall of smoke approached their businesses’ back door.

"Police and fire officials came by and said, for insurance purposes, they had us take pictures of the buildings,” said Bauer. “Just in case."

Richard Reuse, a forester for the Department of Forestry gave us a bird’s-eye view of the 75 acres burning, and got up close and personal with the flames that kept firefighters busy for hours.

"We saw flames towering over the house next door,” said Peggy Stroop, relieved that firefighters were able to protect homes in her neighborhood.  “They did a wonderful job."

Traffic on 288 north and south between Courthouse and Route 10 was shut down for hours. Courthouse remained closed the longest, finally re-opening at 9:45 p.m.

Dave Marsiglio, a forestry volunteer, knows a few things about brush fire; his dad was driving a bulldozer during the battle against Wednesday’s fire.  He explained why sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.  "They'll do a back-burn and set fire to an area, so once the fire gets to that point the fuel is gone," he said.

Luckily, no homes were destroyed, with no loss of life.  Now, firefighters are focusing on how it all started.

"It could be something as simple as a cigarette, but we just don't know at this point," said Reuse.

Stick with CBS 6 for this developing story. To follow all the live updates we did as the event was happening, click here. At one point there was a fire in three counties; Chesterfield, New Kent and Richmond--so the amount of posting flowed fast and furious.