UPPER TRACT, W.Va. (WDTV)-- UPDATE 12/01/19 @ 9:30 p.m.
The Dry Hollow Fire in Pendleton County near Upper Tract received approximately one-quarter inch of rain in the past 24 hours, which has temporarily stalled fire spread. Despite the rain, the fire is still burning and producing smoke.
Firefighters continue to work on preparing the North Fork Mountain Trail as a control line for fire spread to the west. Crews are preparing Pretty Ridge Road and FR 857 as contingency lines, should the fire advance to the south. They are also monitoring control lines that were put in place Friday on the east side of the fire.
As moisture is now moving out of the area, significant winds are forecasted to move into the region Monday. Fire officials will be closely monitoring the onset of changing weather conditions and firefighters will remain on scene at least through the next several days.
Monongahela National Forest continues to coordinate with and support the Upper Tract Fire Department and West Virginia Division of Forestry as they monitor the needs of private landowners affected by the fire.
Burned areas on the National Forest are closed to the public, along with Smoke Hole Road and Forest Road 79. Visitors to nearby National Forest lands, especially hunters, should exercise caution while in the area.
UPDATE 11/30/19 @ 10:30 p.m.
In a press release from the USDA Forest Services they said firefighters continued to work on the Dry Hollow Fire in Pendleton County near Upper Tract on Saturday.
The fire progressed along the west flank on National Forest lands, and increased to 1,289 acres last night and today.
There are no structures in the area.
The Monongahela Type 3 team is still in place with 60 firefighters on the incident.
Firefighters worked today to prepare the North Fork Mountain Trail and Pretty Ridge Road (FR 857) to be used as control line.
Firelines have been secured on the east side of the fire and will continue to be monitored.
National Forest lands affected by the fire are closed, along with Smoke Hole Road (County Road 2) and Forest Road 79.
Today the fire burned with low to moderate intensity, creating conditions that are beneficial to wildlife, oak regeneration, and most significantly, Table Mountain pine, which is a fire-adapted species and needs fire to aid in opening the cones for seed dispersal.
The Table Mountain pine is found on rocky ledges and ridgetops.
UPDATE 11/29/19 @ 11:13 a.m.
Fire activity has decreased now that winds have diminished. However, firefighters are still dealing with numerous hazards like rolling debris, downed trees and uncontrolled fire edge.
According to a press release from the Forest Services, more than 50 firefighters and four engines are still on scene.
Rain is expected to move into the area Saturday afternoon.
Fire personnel are engaging the fire directly on the west side by building fireline to protect buildings, according to the press release. Crews continue to scout the Cave Mountain area on the east side and may conduct burn out operations as necessary to buffer private land between Jake Hill Road and the National Forest Boundary.
The fire is generation visible smoke in the are, especially in the valleys, according to the Forest Services. If you encounter smoke on the highway, slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights, and drive appropriately for the conditions.
The Forest Services is asking the public to avoid Smoke Hole Road, which is closed for public safety and due to emergency vehicles accessing the fire.
The Forest Service says they continue to support the Upper Tract Volunteer Fire Department and the West Virginia Division of Forestry as they assess concerns for private property in the area.
Firefighters from the states of Kentucky, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are working on this incident, along with qualified Job Corps students, according to the Forest Services.
UPDATE 11/29/19 @ 10:23 a.m.
Fire crew responded to a wildfire on Monongahela National Forest early early Thursday morning.
According to a press release from the Forest Services, the wildfires were two miles north of Upper Tract in extremely steep and rocky terrain.
The Forest Services says the Dry Hollow Fire is estimated to be 530 acres and is on both privately-owned and federal lands. No structures have burned.
The fire is burning on both sides of the South Branch of the Potomac River, including Dry Hollow and Cave Mountain near Eagle Rock, according to Forest Services. Several volunteer fire departments responded to the fire along with the West Virginia Division of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service.
Fire crews secured private structures by constructing a dozer line and burning out areas around homes and outbuildings. According to the press release, crews continued to work throughout Thursday to assess fire contingency line and access points.
More resources will arrive on Friday, including 30 additional firefighters and a helicopter.
The Forest Service says they're working to support the Upper Tract Volunteer Fire Department and the West Virginia Division of Forestry as they assess concerns for private property in the area.
Wednesday night's damaging wind event knocked down several trees and caused the fire to spread throughout Thursday, according to the press release. Smoke Hole Road (County Route 2) is closed from Upper Tract to Shreve’s Country Store.
If you encounter smoke on the highway, the Forest Services is advsing drivers to slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights, and drive appropriately for the conditions.
The cause of the Dry Hollow Fire is under investigation.
West Virginia Natural Resources Police responded to active wildfires in the Smoke Hole area of Grant and Pendleton Counties Thursday.
According to NRP's Facebook page, officers have been on the scene since early Thursday morning.
Around 2,000 acres of forest land have been burnt, according to NRP. Hunters were evacuated early morning.
NRP is advising hunters to stay out of the area until further notice.
Keep checking 5 News for any updates.