November 13, 2013
For more information call: 304-257-4488 extension 28
US Forest Service Public Information Officer, Robert Beanblossom, 304-993-1862
Division of Forestry Public Information Officer, Hoy Murphy, 304-951-9365
Smoke Hole area of the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District, Monongahela National Forest, approximately 11 miles southwest of Petersburg, in Pendleton County, WV.
Approximately 1400 acres and 20% contained
The fire was first reported Sunday afternoon and is now burning on the Monongahela National Forest and nearby private lands. Crews made good progress on the fire Tuesday securing and maintaining suppression efforts on the southern end of the fire. This morning Operations Chief Pete Irvine summarized yesterday’s challenges, “This is an unusual fire. There was fire burning actively against the wind in a snowstorm.” Today crews will hold and improve existing line, build new line, and go direct where it is safe. Today’s objectives are to provide for firefighter and public safety, provide protection to communities within the fire area, and to protect natural and cultural resources to the extent possible.
Helicopter view of Smoke Hole
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.
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.
Cheat-Potomac Ranger Station, 304-257-4488 extension 28.