Fires burning in Pendleton County, crews battling

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:47 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:11 PM EDT
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PENDLETON COUNTY, Wv. (WHSV) - Officials have confirmed that there are two fires burning in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Multiple fire departments have reportedly responded to the scenes.

Pendleton County was under a Red Flag warning for Tuesday, meaning that conditions were right for the spreading of wildfires. West Virginia is under a state wide burn ban until further notice per the Governor.

Jeremy Jones, the Assistant State Forester, said they responded to the fires Tuesday afternoon, and they have been battling the fires ever since.


One of the fires is off of Smoke Hole road, near the Eagle Rock campground just north of Upper Tract. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon the fire has been contained, according to Upper Tract Fire Department Chief Mike Alt.

This fire burned about 83 acres. There were a few structures that were threatened by the fire but none were damaged or destroyed. Crews are continuing to monitor hot spots.

The Upper Tract Volunteer Fire Department has posted photos of the scene off Smoke Hole road, and you can view them on their Facebook page.


As of 5:20 p.m. Wednesday Rick Gillespie, Emergency Services Coordinator for Pendleton County confirms this fire is 80% contained. Contained does not mean extinguished.

The larger fire is just west of the town of Franklin in the area of Smith Creek Road. Heavy smoke reportedly encompassed the area since late Tuesday afternoon and the fire is still burning. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Emergency Coordinator Rick Gillespie says that the fire has burned 1,500 acres.

There are several structures that are threatened and fire crews are handing evacuations on an individual as needed basis. A few homes have been evacuated due to the fire but this is on an individual basis and there is no widespread evacuation order.

Gillespie says that this fire is burning differently than typical eastern fires because of the drought and available dry fuels. He said the flames are driven 60-70′ to the top of trees which is not something they typically see.

Gillespie urges residents to be vigilant, be aware of your surroundings and call 911 if necessary.

The community has been donating food and water and dropping that off at the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department.

Officials do confirm that one cabin was burned in the early stages of the fire Tuesday, this was before crews could reach the structure to protect it. Gillespie confirms that they have crews from West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland fighting this large fire.

There is a lot of smoke in the area and fire crews from the entire county plus surrounding counties are battling the flames.

Hear how this fire is behaving different from others:

Tuesday afternoon April 18th
Tuesday afternoon April 18th(Wes Puffenbarger)