Smoke Hole fire ‘manageable’ but not contained

UPPER TRACT, W.Va. — The continuing efforts to contain a wild fire in the Monongahela National Forest in Pendleton County focused on the northwest corner of the blaze Friday.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Bob Beanblossom said two crews were working in the area with bulldozers and a helicopter dropping water on the fire.

Beanblossom said the fire, which began last Sunday, remains manageable but there are still a few reasons for concern.

“With warmer temperatures, a low relative humidity does make a challenge,” he said.

Crews were aided by calm winds Friday.

Thirty percent of the blaze has been contained but Beanblossom said there’s still no projected containment date.

“We’ll be putting out burning stumps or snags that are close to the line. We still have some work to do,” he said.

Fire crews from 18 states are battling the blaze, with most working 12-hour shifts, Beanblossom said. Cooperative effort continued Friday among the Forest Service, state Division of Forestry and local volunteer fire departments.

(Photographer Darin Vance embedded himself with the U.S. Forest Service for MetroNews and sends back the pictures in this gallery from the Smoke Hole Fire.)

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