More crews called in to monitor New River Gorge National Park brush fire

More crews called in to monitor New River Gorge brush fire
More crews called in to monitor New River Gorge brush fire(National Park Service)
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 3:54 PM EST
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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (WVVA) - More crews are on the way to help hold off a brush fire in the New River Gorge National Park.

The blaze picked up from 110 to 150 acres overnight on Thursday. It is happening in an area that would normally be part of a controlled burn to maintain vegetation in the area. But given the high winds expected overnight, crews are not taking any chances.

Looking at the fire from across the mountain on Kaymoor top Thursday, the worst appeared to be over. But according to David Bieri with the National Park Serivce, looks can be deceiving. He said the fire has actually spread with several hot spots that could evolve quickly with the expected high wind.

“It’s low burning. It’s not what people expect when they see images out west, like the ones we’re used to seeing in California and Colorado.”

The wind and wet ground conditions pose new challenges for National Park Service firefighters attempting to work in an area normally reserved for rock climbers. “The conditions for getting people into this area are treacherous because it’s such a steep slope,” Bieri explained.

Crews are bracing for possible changes heading into the weekend, bringing in additional NPS crews from Delaware and Pennsylvania.

“The big concern right now is that it’s drying out and getting warmer and there are heavy winds coming in,” said Bieri.

Bieri said crews were able to inspect the historic Nuttalburg mining complex once owned by Henry Ford. He said it has not yet been damaged by the fire.

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