Wildfires Continue to Spread in Page, Shenandoah Counties

By: WHSV News Email
By: WHSV News Email

4/11/12:

3:30 p.m.

Parts of Interstate 64 have been reopened while other Virginia roads remain closed because of wildfires that have burned more than 7,000 acres.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says I-64 was reopened in both directions Wednesday in Alleghany and Rockbridge counties. The interstate was closed Tuesday near West Midland Trail in Rockbridge County and Clifton Forge in Alleghany County.

Route 850 remains closed near the Alleghany-Rockbridge county line. Route 770 is shut down in the vicinity of Longdale Furnace Road.

Route 723 in Albemarle County is closed in the vicinity of Old Green Mountain Road. And, Route 675 in Shenandoah County is shut down near Liberty Furnace Road. Detours have been set up.

The Department of Forestry says five large fires are burning in Alleghany, Craig, Page and Shenandoah counties.

10:30 a.m.

Parts of Interstate 64 and four other roads remain closed because of wildfires that have burned more than 7,000 acres in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Forestry says five large fires are burning in Alleghany, Craig, Page and Shenandoah counties. There also are numerous small fires across the state.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says I-64 is closed in both directions in Rockbridge County near West Midland Trail and in Alleghany County near Clifton Forge.

Route 850 is closed near the Alleghany-Rockbridge county line. Route 770 is shut down in the vicinity of Longdale Furnace Road.

Route 723 in Albemarle County is closed in the vicinity of Old Green Mountain Road. And, Route 675 in Shenandoah County is shut down near Liberty Furnace Road.

Detours have been set up.

4/10/12:

7:32 p.m.

A wildfire has forced a stretch of Interstate 64 to be closed in Alleghany and Rockbridge counties.

Virginia highways officials say I-64 was closed in both directions Tuesday from exit 29 near Nicelytown to exit 50 near Lexington and Kerrs Creek.

Eastbound traffic on I-64 is being rerouted near Clifton Forge and Iron Gate on to Route 220. Westbound traffic from I-81 headed to I-64 is being detoured at exit 150 onto Route 220.

Wildfires this week have burned several hundred acres in at least five Virginia counties, including Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, Page and Shenandoah.

3:50 p.m.

The Virginia Department of Forestry has confirmed that 1853 acres have burned in the Ship Wreck fire.

About 30-percent of this fire is contained.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

For more information the official press release is below:

Wildland firefighters from the Virginia Department of Forestry, US Forest Service, National Park Service and multiple local fire departments are battling a 1,853-acre blaze in Page County. The Ship Wreck Fire is on First Mountain in Page County just west of the town of Shenandoah, Virginia, and west of State Route 602. Firefighters have protected 125 homes/cabins in the area. The fire is 30% contained.

A voluntary evacuation is still in place for the Shipwreck Farms Area. Cub Run (FS Road 65) is closed until further notice. The public will not be able to access Pitt Springs or Big Mountain Road due to this closure.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

Approximately 100 personnel from federal, state, and local agencies are currently assigned to the Ship Wreck Fire. These local agencies include: Page County Fire and Rescue; Rockingham County Fire and Rescue; Warren County Volunteer Fire Department; Augusta County Volunteer Fire Department; Greene County Volunteer Fire Department, and Rappahannock County Volunteer Fire Department.

Local churches, businesses and community groups are providing relief services and food to the firefighters.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 144,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide more than $27.5 Billion annually in benefits to the Commonwealth.

10:30 a.m.

Here is the latest update on the Wolf Gap Fire from the Department of Forestry. Please not the closed roads and trails listed below:

Wolf Gap Road and Trout Run Road Closed due to Wildland Fire Activity.

Wolf Gap Road (SR 675) is currently closed to all traffic from the intersection of Jerome Road (SR789) to the Perry Store on Trout Run Road (CR23/10) in West Virginia. This road is closed due to wildland fire activity, smoke, as well as weakened and falling trees.

Firefighters are working along this road to construct containment lines for the Wolf Gap Fire. Forest Development Roads 92 and 88 are also closed to all public use.

The following trails are closed due to the Wolf Gap Wildland Fire:
Mill Mountain Trail # 1004
Big Schloss Trail #1004A
Big Schloss Cutoff Trail #415
Little Stony Creek Trail #571
Little Sluice Mountain Trail #398
Cedar Creek Trail #573
Tibbet Knob Trail #578
Tuscarora Trail – Pond Run #1013.2 and Three Ponds Section #1013.1

Local, State and Federal firefighters are working together to keep the public safe and natural resources protected. Pooling our strengths, resources and experience improves our effectiveness and keeps costs down. The safety of the public and firefighters is our top priority.

4/9/12:

10:00 p.m.

The National Forest Service said the wildfire that was burning Monday in the George Washington National Forest near Wolf Gap in the Shenandoah Valley was "human caused."

Fires in Page County burned over 600 acres.

Firefighters were maintaining the fire lines Monday night and they did not plan to dig any new ones.

The weather did not help the situation.

"What would really help is for the winds to die down which they are supposed to later in the week," said Assistant Regional Forester Robbie Talber. "Once that happens we'll be able to get a better handle on the fire and better gauge the direction that it is moving and shore up our fire lines a lot more effectively."

Talbert also said that it was too early to guess when the flames would be contained.

12:58 p.m.:

Fire officials say at least 500 acres have burned in Shenandoah County. A wildfire in Page County has burned 621 acres.

Authorities say the fires don't threaten any structures and no injuries have been reported.

Several roads and trails are closed in the forest in Shenandoah County. The Potts Mountain Jeep Trail in Botetourt County also is closed.

Update from the Shenandoah Volunteer Fire Department and Page County Fire-EMS:

According to Fire Chief K.L. Jenkins an estimated 50 to 1,000 acres are currently on fire in Shenandoah County. Overnight, firefighters were placing a clearing around homes to prevent them from catching fire. As it stands, zero buildings are in danger in the county.

According to Page County EMS Coordinator Wes Shifflett, firefighters are still unsure how many acres are included in the fire there. This morning, they plan to send helicopters around the area to find out how many acres of land are actually on fire.

Fire officials are warning drivers to be aware of smoky conditions as they head out this morning. You should expect smoke and ash in the area due to the fires.

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Update: 10:30 p.m. from Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue

WOODSTOCK, VA -
A wildfire burning in National Forest land will impact Shenandoah County for several days. The fire started in the Wolf Gap area on Sunday, April 8.

No buildings are currently threatened by the fire, but roads and hiking trails are closed in the Wolf Gap area of the George Washington National Forest. These closures are designed for the safety of the public and to allow crews to work on containing the fire.

Roads closed:

Forest Road 88
Forest Road 92
State Route 675 (Wolf Gap Road)

Smoke from the fire will likely drift to the east from Wolf Gap, and be noticeable across the middle of the county, including Woodstock.

People—especially those with respiratory sensitivities—may want to reduce their activities and spend more time indoors with their windows closed.

Fire danger remains high in the county, and the statewide Spring Burn Ban remains in effect. Outdoor fires are unlawful before 4 p.m.

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Parts of the George Washington National Forest in Page County are on fire and firefighters are trying to keep you safe.

The fire center is near Highway 602 by East Point Road and Shipwreck Road.

That's right on the Rockingham County line.

According to Fire Chief K.L. Jenkins with the Shenandoah Volunteer Fire Department, more than 200 acres are on fire.

Jenkins says firefighters are working to protect about a dozen homes.

Firefighters are expected to be on the scene through the overnight hours.

Stay tuned to WHSV for further details as they become available.


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