URGENT - FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
359 AM EDT WED APR 11 2012
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS CONTINUE TODAY...
.THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS BEHIND A PASSING COLD FRONT...LOW
HUMIDITY LEVELS AND DRY FUELS WILL AGAIN MAKE FOR VERY HIGH FIRE
DANGER THIS AFTERNOON.
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS
EVENING FOR THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS...LOW RELATIVE
HUMIDITIES...AND DRY FUELS...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG
WARNING FOR CRITICAL FIRE CONDITIONS...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM
NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING.
* WINDS...NORTHWEST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* TIMING...NOON THROUGH 8 PM.
* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AS LOW AS AROUND 20 PERCENT.
* TEMPERATURES...IN THE UPPER 40S TO LOWER 50S.
* IMPACTS...LIMITED RECENT RAINFALL HAS RESULTED IN DRY FUELS
ACROSS THE REGION. RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND WIND SPEEDS WILL BE
NEAR OR ABOVE CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER THRESHOLDS FOR A RED FLAG
WARNING THIS AFTERNOON INTO EARLY THIS EVENING...CREATING
DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS. GUSTY WINDS CAN RESULT IN
ERRATIC FIRE WEATHER BEHAVIOR.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF
STRONG WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL
CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.
For Immediate Release April 10, 2012
Contact: John Campbell 434.220.9070 or 434.989.0665 VDOF 12031
Wildfires Burning 7,000 Acres in Virginia
Five large wildfires and many more small ones are burning more than 7,000 acres across the Commonwealth today. While the bulk of the large fires are on US Forest Service land, the Virginia Department of Forestry, USFS, National Park Service along with numerous volunteer fire departments are out in force battling the blazes to protect lives and property.
“We’ve seen a tremendous uptick in fire activity today,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection. “It would be fair to say that all 180 of our wildland firefighters are involved in suppression efforts today, and resources are at or near capacity.”
A combination of high winds, low humidity and no precipitation has enabled the wildfires to grow and spread quickly. Many of the fires are on steep, rocky terrain making it difficult for firefighters to reach the flames.
The Shipwreck Fire in Page County has already burned more than 1,850 acres and has the potential to reach 3,000 acres before it is controlled. Firefighters working this wildland fire have protected 125 homes and other structures thus far.
Ten structures are threatened in the Barbers Creek Fire burning in Alleghany and Craig counties. More than 1,500 acres have burned thus far, and the fire has the potential to reach 3,000 acres before being controlled.
The Alleghany Tunnel Fire has burned 2,500 acres and is 10 percent contained. Ten structures have been protected.
The Wolf Gap Fire in Shenandoah County has the potential to reach 6,000 acres – it has burned 550 acres so far.
The Rich Hole Fire in Alleghany County has closed parts of I-64 in both directions. The 400-acre blaze is threatening 10 structures.
Several smaller fires are burning in several counties across Virginia. A Red Flag Warning for much of the Commonwealth and the 4 p.m. Burn Law – which restricts burning until after 4 p.m. each day – remain in effect. Forestry officials are asking all Virginians not to burn for the next several days and to keep their cigarette butts in their vehicles.
The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.
With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 144,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide more than $27.5 Billion annually in benefits to the Commonwealth.
The following video and some pictures were obtained from various news stories being run accross Virginia. The Department of Forestry is very greatful for the support and coverage being provided. It is only with awarness and education during times like this that we can hope to reduce the number of human caused wildfires. THANKS to all reporters and camera folks and support personnel involved.
A fire threat has been issued for Sunday night. High winds and dry brush are fueling wildfires across central Virginia.
In Fluvanna County a pair of buzzards got zapped by power lines, fell to the ground and ignited a brush fire that quickly spread to two acres. The fire shut down Route 6 near Central Plains Road for almost four hours.
And in Schuyler, seven trucks from the Scottsville and Farber's Fire Department rushed to the end of Firefly Court around 6 p.m. to put out a brushfire. Flames stretched over 4 to 5 acres of land.
The fire was ignited by a property owner who a started small brush fire to clear land for a potential house site. Wind and dry leaves caused the flames to spread rapidly.
Timmy Ceresley of the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department said, "Once we get the line around it, with the tractor in place, we'll go back through working any hot spots looking for anything that could potentially set fire across the line."
A wildfire has forced a stretch of Interstate 64 to be closed in Alleghany and Rockbridge counties.
Virginia highways officials say I-64 was closed in both directions Tuesday from exit 29 near Nicelytown to exit 50 near Lexington and Kerrs Creek.
Eastbound traffic on I-64 is being rerouted near Clifton Forge and Iron Gate on to Route 220. Westbound traffic from I-81 headed to I-64 is being detoured at exit 150 onto Route 220.