After burning for more than a week, a wildfire in Greenbrier County is now 100 percent contained.
Called the “South Fire,” the blaze broke out at about 8:45, Monday night, November 21, in the Monongahela National Forest on Greenbrier Mountain, north of the South Boundary Trail and east of Anthony Creek. Because there are no roads into the area, firefighters could not began the initial attack until the following day.
Around 2 p.m., Tuesday, the fire was observed heading eastward toward the small community of Anthony. However, natural barriers, such as a ridge line and the Greenbrier River, separated the community from the blaze, said National Forest Service District Ranger Rondi Fischer, who coordinated the initial attack and asked for additional firefighters and equipment to be dispatched to combat the blaze, including a 20-person hand crew, several fire engines and support staff. The U.S. forest service brought in a helicopter to help fight the fire by dropping buckets of water on the affected area.
By Wednesday afternoon, the fire had grown from 60 acres to 175 acres, more than doubling in size, and on Thanksgiving Day, the wildfire grew to a total of 248 acres. Fortunately, weather intervened bringing two days of steady rains that helped saturate the area and quell the flames.
“The rain we have experienced the last two days has made a positive impact on our efforts to put this fire out,” said Brett Gore, South Fire Incident Commander.
According to Terry Walter, Forest Fire Management Officer and Forest Service Incident Commander, there remains no eminent threat to structures. “Hunters and other Forest visitors are still advised to avoid this area for their own safety;” says Walter. This being deer season, Fischer is asking hunters to be extra careful when using fire, including camp fires. “Never leave a fire until you know it is out,” she said.
The cause of the brush fire is still under investigation and a federal investigator was called in. Fire crews have been sent home or reassigned to other wildfires in the southeast.