For much of Monday, many Ashburn residents noticed a smoky smell in the air — reminiscent of burning wood or a bonfire.  Turns out, they’re not far off the mark.

According to the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, it appears the smoke and odor is coming from a large controlled burn at the Marine Corps Base Quantico down in Prince William County. Reports of hazy smoke and/or a smoky smell have been reported all across Fairfax County, Fauquier County and into southern Loudoun County. Media outlets elsewhere are also reporting its coming from the Quantico base and say it may linger up to 72 hours.

A Loudoun County dispatcher said they had received multiple calls today about the smoky smell and had even dispatched a fire truck to investigate before discovering it was coming from points south. Among the Ashburn areas that reported the smell to The Burn: around Briar Woods High School, around Broadlands and around the Gold’s Gym on Red Rum Drive.

According to online sources, controlled burns are often conducted in cooler months to burn up fuel that could otherwise become a more serious fire during hotter months.

(Image at top: File photo from Flickr)