UPDATE Wed 8:00 a.m…  Officials with the U.S. Forest Service said the fire has grown to an estimated 1,200 acres.

UPPER TRACT, W.Va. – A wildfire is burning out of control on North Mountain in Pendleton County in the Monongahela National Forest. More than 80 foresters and local firefighters are battling the blaze that started on Sunday near Upper Tract.

“[The fire] started on private land and it’s moved west/northwest on to national forest land, southwest of Petersburg,” according to Sarah Hankens with the U.S. Forest Service.

The blaze is 20 percent contained. It’s being called the North Mountain Fire and so far has destroyed 720 acres.

Bob Beanblossom with the U.S. Forest Service said crews are having a hard time reaching some parts of the fire because of the terrain in the Potomac Highlands.

“It is steep, rocky terrain. There are a lot of standing, dead trees that firefighters have to be careful of. It does certainly pose some hazards.” Beanblossom said half the battle is reaching those remote areas.

The fire is so large, the U.S. Forest Service has called in crews from out west.

“We have a lot of folks here from the Monongahela National Forest but there are crews from as far west as Oregon, Idaho and Washington,” explained Beanblossom.

Even more foresters are set to arrive from Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Most of the fire is contained within the national forest and that’s where crews want to keep it.

“There is private property adjacent to the forest, not too far from where the fire is located,” said Hankens. “We do have personnel out on the fire line assessing both direct and indirect ways to create fire lines to try and keep the fire on national forest.”

So far, that part of Pendleton County has not seen any of the rain or snow much of the state received Tuesday morning. However, the humidity is high and that’s keeping the flames from spreading faster. Beanblossom said precipitation would drastically help the effort to gain control of the blaze.

Most forest fires in West Virginia tend to be small. Since July, fewer than 1,525 acres have burned total across the state. However, Hankens said the North Mountain Fire is not typical. Because conditions are so dry and there’s a lot of debris on the forest floor, crews are dealing with difficult situations in different parts of the forest.

“It varies throughout the fire. Flame length can be anywhere from 2 inches to 2 feet or above,” stressed Hankens.

No word on when the fire might be contained. Foresters said it all depends on the weather and how quickly they can reach some of more remote areas.

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Comments

  • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

    So who started the fire on private land and will be responsible for paying the expenses associated with this response?

  • Ronin

    @thornton-

    Please crawl out from under your rock and catch up to the 21st Century. Hemp is the non-psychotropic cousin of cannabis. It's what you use to make rope and cloth and paper and fuel. It has been used for that for about 7,000 years.

    Back in colonial times and as recently as WWII, hemp was a vital crop of American farms, particularly in the deep south.

    So you are calling the grandparents and parents of quite a few Americans "slugs", for being patriots, farmers and good American citizens.

    I don't think any further or more succinct comment could be made on your own character than your choice of responses and demonstration of ignorance.

    As for cannabis, unlike narcotics, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON has ever died of using just cannabis... and, oh, by the way, IT CURES CANCER!

    In countries where it is used to treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), they have about 25% the suicide rate among combat vets that we currently experience.

    George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew and smoked it, as did Abraham Lincoln. How much better than any one of them do you think YOU are?

    I'd tell you to look it up, but they have probably outlawed books in your holler...

    • Larry

      You lose all credibility by saying marijuana cures cancer, totally untrue.

  • Nancy Jean Teague

    Couldn't be global warming! After all there's none of that here according to mega-corporations who keep polluting the planet.

  • Larry

    It would be wise for officials to clarify when they give the size of these fires it is just a rough estimate, there is no way to know the exact acreage without a boundary survey.

  • Tim C

    If the tree hugging USFS would allow some roads to be built in the NF then maybe they could reach some of these rugged areas and fight these fires more efficiently.

  • Barryb

    OK I'm new to the area and still getting familiar with places and locations. North Mountain is between Judy Gap and Franklin. Where is the fire in relation to those towns and which way is it moving?

    FWIW I bought a second home in Cherry Grove (Snowy Mt Road). I realize I'm in no immediate danger, but sometimes fires can rage for days over huge areas.I remember such a fire in the Hawks Nest/ RT 60 area 20 or 30 years ago. People saying let it burn clearly have no understanding of the area or no concern for their fellow humans.

  • Neddie

    I'm only a teen but I'm praying for all the people that is batteling the fire up there in Seneca please be safe n careful. If my teacher is out there please please return safe n sound. Everyone in maysville Petersburg cabins n even in Seneca please pray of all the firemen that is in grant county n the others that called in to help with the fire. I hope that everyone will go home n see there families after all this is over.

  • longbeards

    The fire is up the hollow from the Smoke Hole Store,,last I heard it was up to about 1200 plus acres,,,and growing....it will till this wind lays down..

  • WV Dove

    Last night after reading some comments on here that some people were posting about the wild fires spreading through our counties really aggravated me. People fighting over which county it started in and whether to call it a forest fire or wild fire. This fire has been on everyone's mind, and how it started. Whether it was nature or otherwise, which county or what its called, it's here. Our homes, neighbors, and families are all involved. We have volunteers and experienced people out there risking their lives to contain this fire and keep lives safe from its inflicting path. Then as I'm driving home, with winds whipping my vehicle like punches, I see a driver in front of me throw a cigarette out his window. I'm thinking, is this for real, can they be this careless? We need to pray that the winds stop for even a short time so the fire is contained and yes, I'd love to see freezing rain right now or a heavy snow, but people use common sense..if you smoke, DO NOT throw a cigarette out the window, do not fire up a grill or make a camp fire. This is just plain stupid and thoughtlessness. We need to ask God for safety of our firefighters and all those helping to contain a fire who is not bias of the path it takes. Instead of fighting about trivial stuff, use it constructively and take food and drinks to these people helping us.

    • Debra K Dove

      WV Dove,
      You are exactly correct. I too see people throwing out cigarettes all the time. They just
      do not realize the danger or they don't care.
      It too makes me really mad to see them do this.
      They even throw them down in town at the stores all the time. I have complained so much about this, but nothing is ever done. What is it going to take for them to realize what they are doing? I also want to thank all the firefighters for all they are doing to contain this fire. I can see smoke from where I live. The fire is somewhat near both my homeplace and my home. I love WV, I feel for the people and the animals. I feel for the firefighters and all they are going through fighting this fire. My Mom said the other day if it gets us we will all take heart attacks. She is 88 years old. I said, No,
      we will start over again. We are from WV. We are tough. We need to everyone support the
      firefighters as they go through this and also remember them when it is over with financial donations. This is costing a lot of money fighting this fire. We need also, to remind people when we see them throw down a cigarette, to think before they do this. They need to use an ashtray.

  • guest11212

    I was there this morning been around last couple days it has crowned in some areas but mostly just leaf and ground debris I promise you all that 720 acres has not been destroyed. .. the crews are working very hard to contain this....

  • countrybabiegurl

    I live close enough to that area that a very beautiful land I planed on geting married there this april but looks like might not we dont need all that land burnt like some1 said smoke hole caverns is there we have gas round there what happens if it all goes up we in trouble plus it takes years for the land to get back the w a y she needs yea good for land but too big so not good for yall saying this good you aint been there then or you just dont care there alot of animals that live in there some that dont live anywhere else so think before you say this is good look at what we missing out west down south they control there fires and aint never no biger than 5-10 acres jesus help our people put this out and keep our people that there safe we the people are going to need to come together on this pray help replant what you can do its all reallie in gods hands

    • thornton

      First, consider using a few periods and second, replanting is silly...natural regeneration is wisest. Third, if Jesus wants to get involved....tell him to knock some heads together both in the NFS and with the general public.

      Most, if not all, of the "animals" will respond well to the fire....may hurt a few bats. By and large, other than any private property or human safety issues, this is much ado about little re the environment......700 acres or so thus far...good grief.

  • Mark

    It would just be nice to get some general latitude and longitude information so I can look at a map and get some idea where this really is.

    • northforkfisher

      Look on the map at seneca rocks. Then locate the 2 pipe lines running to the east, at the top of the mt go north for about 2-5 miles just south east of champ rocks and u will see the location.

  • Leana Timbrook

    Prayers of safety for all of the people and animals in the area and prayers for a nice steady rain to soak the flames. may God be with all involved.

    • rexcraigo

      Curious as to why your god wouldn't protect all those things in the first place without you asking?

      And why injure them in the first place? I mean if he can decide whether or not to injure them can't he decide not to?

      Don't get it.

      • countrybabiegurl

        God has ways to get our attention if you just ask him he'll answer you things like this makes us stronger as people

  • tiff

    Prayers to the firefighters and all out there.

  • Jeff Jenkins

    thanks Darin