About 85 percent of wildland fire ignitions in Shenandoah National Park are caused by humans

Shenandoah Park fire 11-9-20

A firefighter in Shenandoah National Park extinguishes hotspots in the area of a wildland fire discovered on Saturday evening.

A wildfire that broke out in Shenandoah National Park on Saturday at the Pass Mountain Overlook (mile 30 on Skyline Drive) — discovered by a visitor at approximately 8 p.m. that evening — is classified as contained as of today.

First responders from the Luray Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD) along with National Park Service staff provided initial attack on the quarter-acre fire that burned in leaf litter, pine needles, and fallen trees. Firefighters were able to construct a containment line around it using leaf blowers and water from a LVFD engine. 

On Sunday, Shenandoah National Park firefighters extinguished interior hot spots within the fire perimeter and patrolled the area. As of today, the fire is considered 100 percent contained. 

The fire appears to be “human-caused” and is currently under investigation. 

“Thanks to the Luray Volunteer Fire Department for their swift response to helping us attack and prevent the spread of this wildfire,” Shenandoah officials said in a news release Monday evening.

“We are in fall fire season in Virginia. With fresh fallen leaves on the ground, the fire danger is elevated and will remain elevated until we receive winter precipitation. Approximately, 85 percent of wildland fire ignitions in Shenandoah National Park are caused by humans.”

Fires are only allowed in park-built fire structures in our campgrounds, picnic areas, backcountry cabins, shelter and huts. All fallen leaves should be removed from within ten feet of the fire structure before lighting a fire. Here’s some other tips:

• Fires are not allowed anywhere in the park outside of a park-built fire structure and visitors are not allowed to build their own fire structure. 

• Never leave a fire unattended. 

• Visitors should ensure that their fire is completely out by dousing it with plenty of water, stirring it and carefully feeling the ashes to make sure they are cold and there is no smoke. 

• Fires should not be built during windy conditions. 

• Smokers should use lighters instead of matches and ensure that their cigarette or cigar butts are completely out and disposed of properly. The best practice would be to refrain from smoking when traveling through wooded areas or areas with dry grasses and shrubs. 

• Fireworks are never allowed in the park. 

• Do not run a vehicle when parked in tall grass. The exhaust system could ignite the dry grass.  

• If you see fire, smoke, or suspicious activity, report it immediately to the Communications Center: 1-800-732-0911 or 1-540-999-2227 

Rain is forecast to arrive with a tropical disturbance on Wednesday, which will bring some much needed ground moisture to Rappahannock County and surrounding areas.

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