WV Press InSight Videos

Mon Forest wildfire doubles in size

Radius grows to 1,400 acres, with only 20 percent contained

By Chad Clem
The Inter-Mountain of Elkins

PETERSBURG, W.Va. — The wildfire raging in Pendleton County has spread over 1,400 acres across the Smoke Hole area of the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest, approximately 11 miles southwest of Petersburg.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday the fire’s radius increased from about 700 acres to approximately 1,400 acres, with officials saying the fire was about 20 percent contained.

“The southern perimeter is pretty well-contained, but the northern, western and eastern sections are still pretty active,” said Robert Beanblossom, public information officer for the Monongahela National Forest. “The dry conditions haven’t helped but the fire is manageable.”

Beanblossom said there was no definitive timetable as to when the fire will be fully contained, and that crews are planning to stay for several days to get the fire under control.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, and no structures have been reported as being affected by the fire.

First reported Sunday afternoon, the wildfire is now burning in both the Monongahela National Forest and on nearby private lands.

“This is an unusual fire,” said Operations Chief Pete Irvine as he summarized efforts to contain the blaze. “There was fire burning actively against the wind in a snowstorm…”

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