UPDATE (12/1 @ 10:40 a.m.) – As of Wednesday morning, the National Park Service says the brush fire is still at 110 acres in size and 50% contained.
Trail closures are still in effect for Headhouse and Endless Wall Trail, as well as anything near the Nuttallburg area.
The Park Service says the fire is very low and mostly in leaf litter and other ground fuels. Main concerns are firefighter safety and the status of historic structures in the fire’s path.
Crews planned to assess historic structures Wednesday. A crew at the Nuttallburg Headhouse confirmed the structure there was unharmed.
UPDATE (11/30 @ 9:40 p.m.) – According to the National Park Service, as of Tuesday evening, the fire has grown to approximately 110 acres. Containment is at 50%.
Crews have completed control lines across the south end, and completed a control line from the rock rim on the west line of the fire. The north line is covered by a rock rim, creating a natural control. The Park Service says the south line continues to take rolling materials crossing the line.
The fire crews plan to burn any unused fuel between the west flank line and the main fire, and will continue to patrol for spot fires and slop overs.
Trail closures are still in effect.
FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – On Tuesday afternoon, crews were still on scene of a brush fire in the New River Gorge near the area of Beauty Mountain.
The National Park Service first became aware of the fire Monday afternoon around 1 p.m., and the fire was only roughly 10 acres in size. By that evening, the fire had grown to 80 acres.
According to District Supervisor Dave Bieri with the New River Gorge National Park, the fire is far from any structures, and as of now there is little concern of any potential damage to property or people’s homes.
“The area it’s in is remote, so there’s no concern about it getting into areas with structures. It’s on the side of the gorge,” Bieri said. “At the bottom you’ve got railroad tracks and the river, so there’s nowhere for it to go.”
The park service has closed down a number of trailheads, including Nuttallburg, Keeneys Creek, and Headhouse. The popular Endless Wall Trail was shut down as well, and also climbing areas near Short Creek.
According to Bieri, the New River Gorge doesn’t see brush fires like this very often, but they are not unheard of.
“They’re not common, but it happens from time to time. The climate here is wet enough we don’t get really big fires, we certainly don’t get the fires you see out west.”
Smoke from the fire could reportedly be seen from Route 19 as drivers crossed the New River Gorge Bridge. But despite how close the fire may seem, it’s still quite far into the lower gorge, which has made it difficult for firefighters to get to and contain the fire.
Moving forward, the park service is hoping the weather pays them a favor.
“Getting more people on it and seeing where it takes us today is probably the biggest concern. The weather is still fairly dry with a bit of breeze. After today I think they’re talking of some moisture coming in so that would definitely help things.”
The fire has been responded to by multiple local fire departments, as well as crews from the New River Gorge National Park Service, and nearby parks like Shenandoah and Cuyahoga Valley.
The Park Service does not yet know what caused the brush fire. Stick with WOAY for further updates.