Wildfires burning in Nelson, Amherst County lead to smoky conditions in the Valley

Photo from WHSV's Massanutten SkyCam in which smoke from wildfires is visible, but the Blue...
Photo from WHSV's Massanutten SkyCam in which smoke from wildfires is visible, but the Blue Ridge Mountains are not(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 23, 2016 at 12:25 PM EST
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Two large wildfires are burning southeast of the Shenandoah Valley - one in Nelson County called the Eades Hollow Fire and one in Amherst County called the Mt. Pleasant Fire.

Southerly winds are blowing smoke from these wildfires throughout the Shenandoah Valley on Wednesday.


The Mt. Pleasant Fire in Amherst County has grown to about 4,400 acres since it began Sunday afternoon in the George Washington National Forest and had spread to 1,200 acres by Sunday night.

Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry say this fire is ten percent contained, as of Wednesday morning. A public meeting about the fire is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church in Amherst.

The flames are near the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area, about 35 miles north of Lynchburg.

Steve Counts with the Virginia Department of Forestry says firefighters are working tirelessly, but strong winds and dry conditions are making their work especially difficult. He says evacuations could be necessary at some point.

A burn ban is in place for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

There is no estimate on when this fire will be contained.


A fire burning on private property in Nelson County has grown to about 700 acres as of Wednesday morning. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, as of 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, the fire was 70% contained.

They say resources were brought from all over the Commonwealth of Virginia to fight the fire.

Officials made a statement Tuesday afternoon asking Nelson County residents to refrain from having any open fires: Bonfires, campfires, firepits, etc., until the wildfire is contained.

"Conditions are very dry currently in Nelson County. Please limit your outdoor burning due to the fact that fires can spread very quickly in this type of weather," said Patrick Murphy, a Senior Area Forester at the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Officials say they hope to have the fire completely controlled by Thanksgiving Day.


Due to southerly winds, smoke from both the Amherst County and Nelson County fires is traveling into the Valley today. Viewers have reported heavy smoke in Waynesboro and Augusta County, as well as light smoke as far north as Harrisonburg.

From many areas in the Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains aren't even visible due to the smoky conditions (see images below).

Do not be alarmed by the sight or smell of the smoke - No fire is burning in the Shenandoah Valley.


Images showing the locations of these fires, as well as the visibility of smoke and much else, can be found below:

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