Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fire on the mountain! St. Mary's Wilderness wildfire

St. Mary's Wilderness wildfire in the Blue Ridge Mountains....

Road to St. Mary's Wilderness. "Road Closed Ahead ...
St. Mary's Wilderness Area & Trails Closed Due to Wildfire."

U.S. Forest Service Command Center at Vesuvius.

U.S. Forest Service helicopter to work with fire....

We drove down Cold Springs Road to the Vesuvius area of Augusta County today to eyeball the St. Mary's Wilderness wildfire that has consumed 1,300 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains . Stopping along a rural road to take photos, I talked with Jimmy LaRoue of the Waynesboro News Virginian who was on the story, taking photos and talking with folks.

Also talked with a retired U.S. Forest Service man who had been called in to help. He showed us where the fire started ... near the top of the mountain just below the ridge ... but they have been unable to determine the cause of the fire at this time because there was no lightning or bad weather at that time, there are no trails nearby, and it is extremely rugged terrain in that area.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed for approximately eight miles between Rt. 56 and Love Gap, with firefighters using it as a staging area to work from. The Augusta Springs Hot Shots are on the fire ... those firefighters who train in the western Augusta County area and respond to the need to fight forest fires nationwide.

The little bit of rain today was not enough to help but, with more moving into the area, perhaps it will be what is needed. Winds are fairly calm at this time but expected to pick up. Yesterday's winds spread the fire all along the mountain, burning from the top downward.

Those forest service folks and firefighters are truly appreciated for the job they are doing.

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