Crews Work Furiously to Fight WV National Forest Fire

Crews Work Furiously to Fight WV National Forest Fire

For six days a wildfire has been burning through the Monongahela National Forest. Flames have spread to 1,400 acres and crews are working furiously to contain and fight the blaze.

WEST VIRGINIA - For six days a wildfire has been burning through the Monongahela National Forest. Flames have spread to 1,400 acres and crews are working furiously to contain and fight the blaze.

Firefighters are using chainsaws, leaf blowers and other tools as they work to put out the Smoke Hole fire. Smoke and the scent of burning wood linger in the air miles from where flames are ripping though 1,400 acres of the forest.

"A wildfire of this size up to 1,400 acres is pretty unusual for West Virginia and it's the largest wildfire we've had here since the 1940s or 50s," said Sarah Hankens of the USDA Forest Service.

Crews first responded to the fire Sunday afternoon. Now, crews from across the country are battling the Smoke Hole fire, and as of Friday they say it's 30 percent contained. Officials say it’s a major accomplishment considering the challenges of fighting this type of fire in rugged terrain. Firefighters have to hike up the mountainside with all of their gear, making the job challenging and strenuous.

"Right now we have over 150 firefighters from over 18 states that are working on this fire and battle the flames. We have crews directly out there on the fire lines fighting the fire. They come from Wisconsin, Colorado and they come from a variety of backgrounds trained in specific capacity to perform their job out there on the role," said Hankens.

An emergency closure order is in effect for many areas of the forest. The Forest Service, the Division of Forestry, as well as local volunteer fire departments are working together to put out the wildfire. Officials say there's no telling when the fire will be officially taken out, and that the weather will be a big factor in it.

No evacuations have taken place. Officials say one firefighter was injured earlier this week and has since been treated. 

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