Firefighters face third day of Hidden Valley wildfire challenges

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 7:17 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 24, 2023 at 6:38 PM EDT
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PENDLETON COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) - The Hidden Valley fire is still alive and visible in West Virginia. Responders in Franklin are describing the current state as mostly contained and under control.

“We still have some spots where it is breaking over the lines, still have some spots with significant fire burning; other than that, things are good,” Pendleton County Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Gillespie said.

Nearby structures still have no threat to them at this time. The main problem Franklin’s volunteer firefighters are having with taking this wildfire out is the wind fighting against them.

“The erratic nature that we’ve had with the wind or they continue to switch directions on this has been problematic,” Pendleton County Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Gillespie said.

Entry Mountain is the closest point Franklin’s volunteer firefighters can have a base to fight the flames. Gillespie also finds the terrain as a challenge with rocks and an extremely steep path making it difficult for the crews.

The Franklin Volunteer Fire Department has been working day and night trying to put this out as soon as possible. A challenge they anticipate moving forward is safety.

“Manpower is becoming more difficult. We’re hoping that mother nature is going to give us at forecasted rain on Saturday and help knock this thing out,” Pendleton County Emergency Services Coordinator RICK Gillespie said.

Whatever happens, Franklin’s firefighters will see the full containment of this wildfire as a community effort.

The Franklin Volunteer Fire Department is working around the clock to knock out this fire. What’s kept the manpower alive is people going the extra mile with meals and a place to sleep.

“We can’t thank the community enough for how they’ve supported these efforts. It’s been a ground flow of support to provide the food, drinks, and moral support that the firefighters need and that has not gone unrecognized,” Gillespie said.

Franklin volunteer firefighters shared that events like these show what a great community we have in the area. They hope the anticipated rain helps contain this wildfire for good.