Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wildfire in Shenandoah National Park ... Virginia burning

Virginia is burning as numerous wildfires, many out of control, blaze from one end of the Commonwealth to the other.

Even Shenandoah National Park has been hit and reports are that the northern third of the Drive is closed, the fire has burned hundreds of acres, and has jumped the roadway. The National Park Service is sending 100 firefighters to help with that and other blazes.

From the deck of our house we can see billowing white smoke from two fires in the mountains of Rockingham County west of Harrisonburg.  High wind gusts up to 60 mph, low humidity, and tinder-dry conditions have created an extremely volatile situation with fires burning statewide resulting in interstate closings due to fire and smoke, reports of lost homes, and residents evacuated and sent to shelters.

Photos from Valley residents show the intensity of the fire. WHSV TV-3 has been covering the fires:
TV3 has learned that the National Park Service is bringing in about 100 firefighters from as far away as Arkansas to help battle the wildfire in Warren County.

Right now, the Department of Forestry is working with the National Park Service and fire crews from throughout the Northern Valley to get a handle on the 300 acre fire.

Fire Chief Richard Mabie says, high winds are making it nearly impossible to control, rather they are working the perimeter to stop it from spreading.

He says, they are using tractors on the North End to flank the fire.

Mabie estimates winds at 35 to 40 miles per hour near the fire. He says, they won't be able to get ahead of it until the winds die down.
Follow emergency services through this website. Thanks to Lisa Mauck for Facebook updates about the fires at her end of the Shenandoah Valley.

Prayers for our firefighters who are battling these blazes. Complete burning bans have been ordered for a number of localities including Rockingham and Augusta counties ... we are under red flag warnings (low humidity, favorable conditions for fire) during a very dry time. Stay safe out there....

- North Peak Mountain evacuations in Rockingham County....
- Shenandoah County fire burns hundreds of acres
- Brush fire in Waynesboro
- Waynesboro homes saved from fire
- Brush fire in Luray (Page County)
- Central Shenandoah Valley homes saved
- Rawley Springs fire expected to burn for days

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