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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Update from Shenandoah Neighbor Mountain Fire

Shenandoah National Park

Neighbor Mountain Fire Incident Update

Saturday, June 30 2012

Information Contact:
Linda Friar, Incident PIO 786-385-0067

Fire was first reported on June 26, 2012 at approximately 6:40 a.m. on

Neighbor Mountain in Shenandoah National Park in Page County.

Estimated at 827 acres as of 1:00 pm 6/29/12, and entirely within the boundaries of

Shenandoah National Park.

0%. No estimated date of containment.

Fire Conditions:
The fire is burning in steep, rocky terrain. The forest is a mix of

hardwoods, mountain laurel, blueberry and leaf litter.

Today’s Strategy:
Additional fire crews from New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and

Massachusetts are in place today and will augment local crews’ efforts to continue

construction of a fire line around the fire.

Current Resources:
The Southern Area Red Team, as a Type 2 incident management

team, has established a unified command with the Virginia Dept. of Forestry to manage

the fire. Resources assigned to the fire include personnel from the National Park

Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of

Forestry, and Mississippi Forestry Commission.

No immediate threats to structures.

Storm Closures:

The thunderstorm last night has resulted in closures of the north and south

districts of the Skyline Drive: mile 4.6 through mile 31.5 at Thornton Gap and

Route 33, Swift Run Gap to Route 64, Rockfish Gap. Park staff hope to have that

open later in the day.

Fire Closures:

The following trails are closed: Appalachian Trail between Elkwallow and Beahms

Gap, Knob Mountain Cutoff, Knob Mountain, Neighbor Mountain, Jeremys Run.

Byrd’s Nest #4 Shelter.

Incident Information Sources:
Incident Management has set up an email account for

communication with the communities – Current information

will be available on the park twitter and facebook sites –

Friday, June 29, 2012

pictures from the Neighbor Mountain NPS Fire

I have not gotten any pictures from our folks on the fire but these are some nice ones posted on the Shenandoah Valley Fire's Facebook page.!/media/set/?set=a.432504513460772.99848.172276289483597&type=3

Gotten calls from friends in FL and GA asking about the fire as it seems both states are sending folks to the fire. (hand crews). It is the National Park Service that is ordering the resources not the State.
The local VDOF folks from the Central Region with some assistance from the Western Region and local part-timers and fire departments are managing the incident well at this time. Below are some notes from a meeting earlier today.

We have decided to take a more proactive approach on the shenandoah national park fire in order to protect private property. We are bringing in a few more dozers, including a contingent of personnel from the western region. This will give us 3 dozers and roughly 15 personnel through the weekend, and will free up at least 1 of the local dozers to be on standby in case something else develops.
The current plan is to complete a dozer line along all of the private property areas on the south and west sides of the fire perimeter. Once that is complete, most likely mid day tomorrow, we are going to burn out our lines back into the park. This should secure all of the private land areas currently threatened.

All of our personnel on the fire have done an excellent job and will need to be commended for doing what they need to do in the terribly hot conditions that lay ahead this weekend.

Wildfires Continue to burn in Virginia

One can NOT compare the fires that are currently burning in Virginia with those out West. Yes all wildfires are dangerous and any size fire can destroy someones home, injue firefighters and as we see from Colorado can even kill.
Our hearts and prayers go out to all those being impacted by wildfires out west while also doing all we can right here "at home in Virginia".

Two wildfires in western Virginia on Thursday worried some residents when the scent of smoke drifted as far as the District.

According to officials, the wildfires are both burning on federal land, one in the Shenandoah National Park and the other in George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. Trails in both parks were closed because of the fire.

By 6 p.m. Thursday, the Point 2 Wildfire in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests was about 353 acres, and only 5 percent contained, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture Forest Service. It is located on Massanutten Mountain between Sherman Gap and Veach Gap, spanning both Shenandoah and Warren Counties. It was first detected on Monday.

Trails were also closed in the Shenandoah National Park for the Neighbor Mountain Fire.
Agreat story and video can be found at

Cautioned urged for July 4th fireworks

The lack of rainfall especially in South-central Virginia is raising concerns that the use of fireworks during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday could spark fires in tinder-dry fields and woods.

Virginia Department of Forestry officials indicate that it's not just cities and towns' pyrotechnic shows that pose a threat. He says small fireworks, cookouts and bonfires that are popular during the holiday could start fires in the dry conditions that would spread rapidly.

While the dry conditions concern fire officials there are no immediate plans to ban fireworks.

The agency is encouraging people planning holiday celebrations to use fireworks safely. Spokesman Gregg O’Donnell says the wildfire potential exists in areas where consecutive days of hot temperatures have dried out vegetation.

“It has been awhile since our last beneficial rainfall in many areas, and it is slowly drying out,” said John Miller, Virginia Department of Forestry’s Director of Resource Protection. “We want everyone to be safe and legal while using fireworks, or better yet leave the fireworks to professionals.”

The Department of Forestry recommends following these safety tips:

  • Buy from reliable fireworks sellers only use those that are legal for use in Virginia and your locality.
  • To detonate fireworks, find a flat surface, away from buildings, dry leaves and grass.
  • Have water, a rake and shovel on hand in case of a fire.
  • Insist on adult supervision when buying or setting off fireworks.
  • Read and follow label directions, warnings and instructions.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never try to re-Iight fireworks that have not detonated.
  • Never give fireworks to small children; even sparklers can cause serious burns.
  • Keep all pets especially dogs away from any fireworks.
Fred X. Turck Assistant Director Resource Protection Division Firewise, Prescribed Fire, Prevention and Education

For more info and some prevention material (coloring sheets and mini posters) visit

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

USFS and NPS fighting wildfires in Virginia

There are 2 significant wildfires currently burning on federal lands in Virginia. The US Forest Service and the National Park Service both have fires they along with help from the Virginia Department of Forestry and local resources.

The Point 2 Wildfire is the USFS Fire, currently at 1,000 acres.

The Point 2 Wildland Fire is located on the Massanutten Mountain between Veach Gap and Sherman Gap in the counties of Warren and Shenandoah.
The public can expect to see smoke for several days due to the dry conditions in the fire location and the lack of predicted precipitation.
The terrain is steep, rocky and remote making access to the fire extremely challenging.
Because of the active fire behavior, the following trails are closed until further notice:
The Massanutten National Recreation (#408) from Shawl Gap to Veach Gap. The Tuscarora Trail (#405.1) is closed from Shawl Gap to Panhandle Road (SR 613).
Sherman Gap (#403) and Veach Gap (#484) Trails are also closed.
The number one priority is public and firefighter safety.
Please use caution with all campfires. Be aware that fireworks are prohibited on national forest lands.

The NPS Fire is called the Neighbor Mtn Fire and is near the star on the map below.
This fire is currently 250 acres in size. This fire is also a possible lightning strike from a storm over the weekend. There are 30 people on the fire now with additional resources being ordered up and will be in place tomorrow. The Virginia Department of Forestry will concentrating suppression efforts along rt 612 where numerous homes and a church is in the area. Currently the fire is approximately 3/4 a mile from these structures but will possibly cover much of that distance up overnight and tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Morning Wildfire Headlines

The following headlines are just a sampling of stories that are running accross the country this morning. You will note that ALL the fire news is not comming from the west.

In Nevada, a newspaper photographer covering a brush fire this week was roughed up, handcuffed and cited for obstruction, his editor said.

More wind and heat could hamper Colorado wildfire fight
The High Park Fire had consumed 59,500 acres of woodland by Tuesday, but it was about 50% contained.

Idaho wildfire destroys six homes southeast of Boise
A small but destructive wildfire driven by strong winds has destroyed six houses and five outbuildings in Idaho, while two much larger blazes threatened dozens of dwellings in Wyoming and Colorado, authorities said on Tuesday.

Wildfire hits and misses San Juan County residents

BLOOMFIELD - The path of the wildfire east of Bloomfield is a checkerboard of destruction and close calls.
Five family homes were destroyed in the County Road 4901 Fire, which was what first responders named the 352--acre wildfire that started east of Bloomfield on Monday afternoon.

UPDATE: Croatan National Forest wildfire grows to 21,000 acres

CROATAN NATIONAL FOREST, N.C. – The wildfire at Croatan National Forest has more than doubled in size from yesterday.
Officials say its now 21 thousand acres.
The U.S. Forestry has 100 people trying to control the wildfire.

Brush fire threatened Charlotte County homes

Shifting winds challenged firefighters

Charlotte County and Florida Division of Forestry firefighters spent nearly three hours Monday night battling a brush fire that threatened several homes.

New Mexico wildfire threatens Smokey Bear's home

The "Little Bear" fire is burning in the Smokey the Bear Ranger District, White Mountain Wilderness and Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico near Ruidoso. The forest is where the scared bear cub was rescued in 1950.

Massive NM Fire Threatens Endangered Fish
The wildfire that has ravaged southwestern New Mexico is the largest in the state's recorded history, and it's endangering an already threatened species of trout. Biologists say the ash, sediment and charred debris will wash into streams with summer rains and that's a deadly recipe for the Gila trout found in the Gila National Forest.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Training and a fun look at arson awarness

I am currently in Morgantown WV at the Mid-Atlantic Forest Fire Compact Wildfire Academy. And last week it was the Virginia Interagency Wildfire Academy. Between the two there were almost 500 students learning from a great group of instructors a variety of information. I will be posting lots of pictures and additional information hopefully next week. Please check back soon.
I would like to leave with you the video clip below that was produced by one of the students I have in the P-310 course, Wildfire Prevention and Education Team Member course. Chelsea works for the Floridia Forest Service and is new to the prevention "world" but brings a wealth of skills that will be quite valuable.
I hope you enjoy the video and please pass it along to anyone you know that might find a use for it. Wildland Arson is a huge problem all accross the nation and any help anyone can provide to put a stop to these criminal acts just may save the life of a firefighter or innocent citizen.