The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arson in the George Washington National Forest

Image by D L Ennis: Fire can be seen, in this image, staying close to the ground at the top of this ridge. Click any image to see a larger version.

As of this morning a fire, set by arsonist, is still burning in the Peavine Gap area of the George Washington National Forest in Amherst County, Virginia. “…it's the product of arson, according to investigators in Amherst County. Hundreds of acres have already burned, and several fires continue as crews search for the best plan of attack.”

Image by D L Ennis: Ash falls like snow on a back road in the G. W. National Forest near the fire.

Several fires were reported Saturday night near Peavine Gap. According to WSET, in Lynchburg, Virginia: “Investigators say all the information they've gathered points to arson. For now, each is fire burning low to the ground and doesn't pose any real threat to private property.” As the crow flies the fire is less than a mile from my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Image by D L Ennis: Smoke fills the sky from the burning ridges around Peavine Gap.

Capt. Woody Lipps, U.S. Forest Service - "Eventually, for one reason or anther, there's going to be fire in the forest, always has been. If the fuel is removed a little at a time, you'll almost always have fires similar to this. If you have a great build-up of fuel, then you can have an extremely dangerous fire."

That's not to say things are already fully controlled. Captain Lipps points out weather could make these fires much worst in the coming days.

Image by D L Ennis: The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed near Otter Creek.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, is closed because of the fire, 1000 ft. north of the Otter Creek Campground on the Parkway.

Update 12/13/2006
This from WSET
Amherst Co., VA - That forest fire in Amherst County has doubled in size. Tuesday, firefighters took to the air to try to get an upper-hand on the battle. Investigators believe it started on Sunday night and that someone lit it on purpose. Now, they're working hard to get it under control.
The choppers dropped ping pong balls filled a chemical that starts fires, giving them helpful controlled burns. Fire officials believe the first flames started near Peavine Gap in the George Washington National Forest Sunday night. About 60 firefighters were working on it. And more are on the way. They tell us, right now, no homes or business are in danger. How long this fire will burn is still up in the air.
Donna Wilson, U.S. Forest Service - "It's really weather dependent. It could be a few days or a week or so. It just depends on how much rain we get if any."
I talked to a parkranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday evening and he says that the Parkway north of Otter Creek will be closed at least for the rest of this week. -DL


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