Stormwatch

Stormwatch

UPDATE: New River Gorge fire close to contained

Local - 4/24/2014 9:53 AM
UPDATE: 

LANSING - An ongoing brush fire covering around 130 acres in Fayette County is about 90 percent contained, according to National Park Service officials.

Crews are continuing their efforts to contain the Fern Creek fire that started Sunday night in the Endless Wall area of the New River Gorge National River. National Park Service (NPS) staff and personnel from the Cumberland Gap Wildland Fire Module helped are on-scene Thursday, according to NPS officials.

The Endless Wall Trail, the Fern Creek and Nuttall parking areas remain closed.

NPS officials hope Friday’s expected rain will help clear the fire. The source of the fire remains under investigation, but officials believe it is suspicious.


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UPDATE: 4/23/14, 5:59 p.m.

LANSING – A fire which has engulfed nearly 130 acres of forest is nearly contained. National Park officials say the brush fire that started in Fayette County Sunday night is about 75 percent contained.

Firefighters are continuing with their efforts to contain the Fern Creek fire located in the Endless Wall area of New River Gorge National River.

In addition to NPS staff, personnel from the from the Mt. Hope Fire Department and the Midewin Hot Shots,  a 20-person inter-agency wildland firefighting crew,  hosted by the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington Illinois are working the fire Tuesday.

Crews are working to build fire line that will stop the fire spread. The Endless Wall Trail, including the Fern Creek and Nuttall Parking Areas, and associated climbing in the vicinity of the fire remained closed.

Fire Management Officer with the New River Gorge, Peggy Ainslie says they let the fire burn naturally because the cliffs in the gorge helped contain the fire.

“We wouldn't have sprayed retardant, or would have tried not to, unless structures were threatened, because that leaves a big ugly orange stain.”

Ainslie says the lasting effects of the fire will be minimal.

“This will eventually fade out and blend into the rocks again. The vegetation itself will eventually recover, but now it's set back to an earlier successional stage.”

The source of the fire remains under investigation, but officials do believe it is human-caused.

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ORIGINAL : 4/22/14 6:30pm

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (AP) - A wildfire has forced the closing of a portion of the New River Gorge National River's Endless Wall Trail.
    
Park official Robin Snyder says some popular climbing areas in the vicinity of the fire were also closed Monday while crews from the National Park Service and the Fayetteville and Nuttall fire departments battled the blaze. Snyder estimated that the fire covered 15 to 20 acres.
    
The steep and treacherous terrain, low humidity and an upslope wind prompted the park service crew to reassess the tactic for attacking the fire and call in additional resources and crews.
    
Snyder said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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