GREENBRIER COUNTY W.Va. (WVDN) – Many West Virginia residents have noticed that a smoky haze has descended on the Mountain State. Much of this is likely due to the multiple wildfires burning across the region. Fall Brush Fire Season began on Oct. 1 and, according to the West Virginia Division of Forestry, 114 fires have occurred since that date. During 2023, the state experienced 916 fires which burned approximately 11,340 acres.
Currently, there is a wildfire burning in the New River Gorge National Park. According to Dave Bieri, a district supervisor with the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, the fire was estimated to be about 150 acres on the morning of Nov. 7. Bieri also noted that the fire is in a “remote location opposite the river from Grandview.” Smoke is visible throughout the park, but Bieri stated that there is only one area closed at this time, War Ridge Camp Ground.
Multiple other fires continue to rage in other parts of the state. At the time of writing, Mingo County Emergency Management states that the Buffalo Mountain and Delbarton Hatfield and McCoy trails have been temporarily closed due to forest fires. Additionally, Trail 54 Anse has been closed by Forestry.
Officials are urging individuals in West Virginia to avoid burning as much as possible. Additionally, Jeremy Jones, state forester and director of the West Virginia Department of Forestry stated, “Right now, we are asking West Virginia Residents to refrain from calling local county emergency services centers for smoke complaints to reduce false alarm calls that can pull resources away from local volunteer fire department. However, if you see a fire or column of smoke rising from a specific place, please, call 911 immediately.”
Forestry credits debris burning as the single most common cause of wildfires in the state. The fire danger forecast for Nov. 9, according to the DOF Fire Danger Map is moderate for most of the area.
The current smoky conditions have caused the local air quality to be listed as “poor.” Use caution when outdoors, especially for those with chronic lung conditions such as asthma and COPD.
For more information about Fall Brush Fire Season and the rules and regulations that go with it, visit wvforestry.com.
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