Matts Creek fire grows to more than 10,000 acres
BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A wildfire burning in the Jefferson National Forest has now consumed more than 10,100 acres.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Matts Creek Fire is about 27 percent contained as of Monday morning.
According to a release, favorable weather conditions over the weekend allowed firefighters and helicopters to eliminate some of the fuel for this fire, part of an effort to protect communities around the forest and prevent the spread of the fire.
This strategic firing operation helped to move the fire into flatter terrain, which will allow firefighters easier and safer access and provide more opportunities to stop the fire from spreading to the west.
On Monday, crews will be working within the strategic burn areas to locate and extinguish hot spots and monitor the fire.
They will also continue working on existing containment lines and patrol the Blue Ridge Parkway for burning material.
With rain in the forecast for Tuesday, fire crews are hoping to get more of a handle on this blaze, which is the largest in the Commonwealth.
However, fire activity is expected to pick up Monday afternoon due to some gusty winds.
Part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail are closed due to this fire.
Other roads and trails that are closed include Petites Gap Road between the Belfast Trailhead and the parkway, as well as the James River Face Wilderness and all associated trails.
These include the Locher Tract, Glenwood Horse Trail, the James River Foot Bridge parking lot, Matts Creek Trail, Piney Ridge Trail, Gunther Ridge Trail, Belfast Trail, and Sulphur Springs Trail.
Air quality health alerts have also been issued for the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Alleghany, Bath, Amherst, Rockbridge and Campbell as well as Lynchburg.