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New River Gorge wildfire lessening in coverage area

Flames are visible in the distance as crews battle a wildfire at Beauty Mountain in Fayette...
Flames are visible in the distance as crews battle a wildfire at Beauty Mountain in Fayette County, West Virginia.(WSAZ with permission)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:28 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 4:13 PM EST
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UPDATE 12/3/21 @ 4:10 p.m.

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Progress continues against a wildfire in the New River Gorge National Park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve reported Friday.

The agency said the fire at Beauty Mountain has dropped from an estimated 150 acres to around 132 acres. Officials said GPS data has helped them get a better handle on the size of the fire.

In a statement, the agency said, “Today’s objectives will be primarily monitoring. Crews will walk all fire lines again to make sure nothing has escaped the containment lines. They will also tend to a couple of hot spots within the burn area.

“The Endless Wall Trail, including both the Nuttall and Fern Creek trailhead parking areas are open. Fire suppression activities are still taking place below the cliff top so the climbing access ladders will remain closed. All other previous closures are still in effect.

“Hikers planning to use the trail should be aware of the possibility of smoky conditions and reduced air quality.”

UPDATE 12/1/21 @ 10:20 p.m.

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A wildfire in the New River Gorge National Park remains about 50% contained, with around 150 acres still impacted, said Dave Bieri, district supervisor for the park.

Bieri said the fire had some growth overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, which added about 40 acres to the west of the main fire below Beauty Mountain.

He warned that with high pressure setting up gusty and warmer conditions in the coming days -- and with lower relative humidity setting in -- the fire will remain challenging for crews.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A blaze that started Monday afternoon has had firefighters in an uphill battle for more than 24 hours, as they work to put out a wildfire that has spread to over 100 acres in New River Gorge National Park.

“This is in a pretty remote location down underneath Beauty Mountain,” Dave Bieri, district supervisor for New River Gorge National Park, told WSAZ. " That’s probably one of the biggest challenges of this fire. It’s on very steep terrain and tough access. There’s no good access point to it, and it’s tough getting people around on that kind of terrain.”

Bieri said the fire was reported around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. At that time, it had only spread to about 10 acres.

“At the end of the day (Monday), it had grown to about 80 acres.”

On Tuesday, the park closed both the Headhouse Trail and Endless Wall Trail as a safety precaution.

“It’s not really threatening it yet, but just for precaution we’ve closed (those) trails as well as some of our climbing areas,” Bieri said

The park’s service fire crew, along with crews from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park, have been on scene. Firefighters from the National Forest Service were also assisting.

As of late Tuesday night, fire crews have contained the fire to about 50%.

“Trail closures are still in effect. The crews have not been able to access the conveyer and huddle house yet due to falling trees that have burned out at the base,” Bieri said.

Park officials will be sending out crews again on Wednesday morning to assess the situation, and the historic buildings at the headhouse, associated with the Nuttallburg historic coal town.

No injuries have been reported at this point. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

Endless Wall Trail closed due to wildland fire

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