Catawba Valley Fire update
Hikers should be aware of possible weakened trees that may come down and the likelihood of smoky conditions.
Although an exact cause cannot be determined, investigators believe the fire was human-caused. There is no evidence that it was intentional.
The Catawba Valley Fire suppression has been a joint effort by the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department, the U.S Forest Service, the U.S. National Park Service, and the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Update: Tuesday, 7:41 p.m. The 19.8-mile section of the Appalachian Trail that was closed by the Catawba Valley Fire will reopen tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. Officials report that the fire is 90% contained and all resources with the exception of 16 NPS firefighters have been released.
On Tuesday, firefighters will be looking for hot spots and any remaining snags that may be hazardous. They will also begin to assess needs for rehabilitating the 165 acres affected by the fire.
The Catawba Valley Fire suppression has been a joint effort by the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. National Park Service, and the Virginia Department of Forestry.
The Catawba Valley Fire along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Roanoke County Virginia is about 60% contained with a goal today of 90% containment.
According to Denny McCarthy of the Virginia Department of Forestry, with an aggressive containment strategy and successful execution throughout Sunday night, firefighters were able to establish control holding the burned acreage to 165, down from the 325 originally estimated. Several previously threatened structures have been protected and there have been no injuries. The cause is still under investigation. McCarthy noted excellent cooperation among the involved agencies.
Shuttles are in place today for Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers since a 19.8-mile portion of the historic 2100-mile footpath is closed. Hikers are being shuttled from the Route 311 Gap to the Daleville 220 Park and Ridge. The fire is burning mostly on National Park Service land associated with the A.T.
Extremely low relative humidity has caused dry conditions and officials are asking the public to use caution and to avoid the area around the fire. There is also concern about downed trees; firefighters dealt with several overnight and there remains a risk of more.
Yesterday, firefighters conducted burnout operations. The public may have noticed increased fire activity around 3:00 p.m. as the fire encountered mountain laurel and rhododendrons, but this activity was all within the established fire area. Today’s plan includes a goal of 90% containment and firefighters will begin to secure the existing line.