Smoke Hole wildfire in West Virginia only 20% contained
The aptly named "Smoke Hole" wildfire, for where it is located in West Virginia, started last Sunday on private land. The cause for the blaze still hasn't been identified, but it has burned nearly out of control in Pendleton County, WV southwest of Petersburg, WV. The fire is still only 20% contained as of this morning says the U.S. Forest Service due to such dry and windy conditions over the past two days.
With gusty winds yesterday and low levels of humidity, it has made it hard to try to contain the fire. Winds have subsided today, but humidity levels are still very low leading to extremely dry conditions and plenty of fuel for the fire since the majority of leaves have fallen in the mountains.
Shenandoah Valley Fire (Not associated with the Fire Department) shared this on their facebook page giving an idea of how much help is now coming to the area as now they'll even have air support with a helicopter dropping water over the fire.
Smokehole fire still burning, pic sent in from viewer. VERY dry conditions continue but winds are calming pic.twitter.com/NE6TFLfUI5— Aubrey Urbanowicz (@WHSVaubs) November 13, 2013
Aubrey Urbanowicz (Our colleague who is a Meteorologist in Harrisonburg, VA at WHSV-TV) shared this picture from a viewer the other night along with the dewpoints at the time showing just how dry it has been. Current dewpoints are still only in the upper teens to low 20s, but are expected to rise into the 30s overnight.
The West Virginia Department of Commerce shared this on a webpage dedicated to keeping track of the fire,
"Resources Assigned: The Smoke Hole Fire is cooperatively managed under a unified command structure between the WV Division of Forestry and US Forest Service. Resources include: Two 20 Person Fire Crews, 5 engines, and a helicopter. Franklin, Upper Tract, Seneca Rocks and Petersburg, volunteer fire departments are providing suppression and structural assistance on affected private lands. Additional fire personnel and resources have been ordered and continue to arrive.
Closures: Forest Road 79 is closed to the public. North Fork Mountain Trail is closed at the intersection with the Landis Trail (#502) and south until US Route 33. An area wide emergency closure order will be in place on Wednesday.
Information: Cheat-Potomac Ranger Station, 304-257-4488 extension 28."