Hidden Valley Fire turning inactive

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 9:09 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2023 at 7:46 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN, WV. (WHSV) - UPDATE: As of Saturday evening, local officials have the Hidden Valley Fire in Pendleton County fully contained as the fire is now mostly inactive. All fire crews have secured from the scene.

Personnel will continue to make periodic patrols and watch for any rekindles or problem areas. If you see active fire threatening structures, please call 911. In the end, the Hidden Valley Fire roughly burned about 1,700 acres. Rain on Saturday significantly helped contain and put out the fire.

PREVIOUS: Wildfires continue to burn in Pendleton County on Friday. According to officials, there hasn’t been much that has changed about the fires.

The Smoke Hole fire is still fully contained.

The main problem firefighters have faced in the last 48 hours is the wind. There is concern for firefighter safety this weekend as winds increase.

The Hidden Valley fire is mostly contained and has burned more than 1,500 acres. Crews are currently staged just off Entry Mountain Road. While there is still smoke, the smoke, it has not been as bad as the last few days.

Rick Gillespie, Pendleton County Emergency Services Coordinator says firefighters have been working 24 hour shifts, but are still getting much needed rest. Crews have constructed containment lines to be able to monitor the fire, like a typical controlled burn.

Gillespie says this fire is very uncharacteristic to typical fires he’s seen around here. “The challenges are, it’s acting at times more like a western wildfire than it is an eastern one. That’s my terminology of how I see it. At times this fire was crowning 80 feet 100 feet up in the tall trees taking out the treetops and a lot of time our fires around here tend to be low intensity burning the underbrush and the leaves and the floor of the forest.”

Gillespie says if they need additional resources they will exercise that power. If people are ordered to evacuate nearby churches, motels, and the franklin community building are open but no one has needed to use those services so far.

If you have an emergency and can see flames very close to your property you are asked to dial 911. If you see something that you think is concerning but not imminent to call the number 304-358-7911.

Crews throughout West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland are fighting this fire. They say they’re grateful for the support from the community.

Crews have been working around the clock to battle the blaze. To help them stay energized and hydrated, the community has rallied to support the crews in the field donating food, drinks, and anything else needed.

Everst turner, Secretary of the Franklin Volunteer fire department says it’s nice to see the community come together. “You know, feeding the firemen, they’ve been fighting on this for two days now. It’s tremendous to see the support of the firemen, local firemen around us in our surrounding communities. Even out of Maryland and other places.”

If you’d like to help, donations can be dropped off at the Franklin volunteer fire department, or you can check out the department’s Facebook page

Weather conditions will be challenging over the next few days. There is a fire weather watch for the entire area for Friday due to dangerous fire conditions with gusty winds. A burn ban is still in effect for the entire state of West Virginia until further notice.