Home Final update issued on Matts Creek fire; full containment reached on Monday

Final update issued on Matts Creek fire; full containment reached on Monday

Crystal Graham
blue ridge parkway smoke wildfire
Milepost 168 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, smoke from the Tuggle’s Gap fire is seen in the distance. Photo courtesy NPS.

The incident management team for the Matts Creek fire reported full containment late Monday. They have handed command of the fire to a smaller team.

The fire began on Nov. 12 and burned more than 11,000 acres in the James River Face Wilderness and Blue Ridge Parkway. The cause is undetermined.

Heavy equipment operators are completing repairs on the Glenwood Horse Trail near Belfast Creek, and firefighters are still working on repairs within the burned area.

All roads and trails within the fire area are now open to the public, and firefighters are replacing closure signs with warning signs.

Cold, blustery winds and snow flurries are being observed over the fire area today, and hikers are cautioned about entering recently burned areas under windy or wet conditions.

Due to persistent drought, Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect.

A team of U.S. Forest Service specialists is on site assessing conditions of the burned area.

A preliminary burned area vegetation map compiled from satellite imagery suggests that most of the fire burned with low severity, and that some moderate burning occurred on steep south-to-southwest-facing slopes. Field validation and additional data collection will improve mapping accuracy this week.

All roads are now open.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.