Two small wildfires in the Monongahela National Forest

PETERSBURG, West Virginia, — There are two wildfires burning in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area within the Monongahela National Forest.
The Red Creek Fire was discovered on Friday, September 16, 2016. A second fire was discovered on September 22, 2016, now called Red Creek Fire #2. The cause of both fires is under investigation but it is believed they were caused by human activity.
The fires are small, less than one acre in size. Fire activity has been low intensity with minimal fire spread. At this time, Red Creek Fire #2 is 90% contained. It will continue to be monitored daily for some time. Fire suppression efforts continue today with firefighters focusing on the original fire.
The Forest Service has closed trails and the surrounding area due to the potential presence of unexploded ordinance in the wilderness area. The intent is to create a safety zone of at least one-half mile around the fires to prevent injuries should the wildfire cause an undetected ordinance to explode.
For this reason, a Forest Supervisor’s Closure Order was issued for the southwestern portion of the Dolly Sods Wilderness on September 23, 2016. Specifically an area bounded by the Wilderness boundary on the west; 100 feet east of Forest Road 80; 100 feet south of Blackbird Knob Trail (TR 511); 100 feet west of Red Creek Trail (TR 514); and 100 feet north of Laneville Road (CO 45/4).
This includes all cross-country travel and travel on the following trails: Big Stonecoal Trail (TR 513), Little Stonecoal Trail (TR 552), Breathed Mountain Trail (TR 553), Rocky Point Trail (TR 554) and Dunkenbarger Trail (TR 558).
Due to dry conditions, a Closure Order related to outdoor burning is also in effect. Effective September 23, 2016, a Fire Ban is in place for the entire Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, the Red Creek Campground and the Dolly Sods Picnic Area. No campfires or charcoal grills are allowed. Gas-powered grills and backpacking stoves can still be used.
Troy Waskey, Cheat-Potomac District Ranger, says “The timing of these two closures is unfortunate with so many visitors to the Dolly Sods at this time of year. All of the hikers and hunters that firefighters have encountered on the trails have been very understanding.” He went on to say that the closures will be lifted as soon as possible. He emphasized that firefighter and public safety are his top priority.
For the latest information on the Red Creek Fires, check the Monongahela Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/mnf/under Alerts & Warnings.

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