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Update: Forest Fire in Bedford Co. Is No Longer Active - abc27 WHTM

Update: Forest Fire in Bedford Co. Is No Longer Active

Posted:

Update Friday:

Bedford Co., VA - Fire officials say the fire in Bedford County has been completely put out.

John Campbell, the director of the public information division for the Virginia Department of Forestry, says the fire is no longer active. 

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Bedford Co. -  Crews from the Federal Forest Service, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and even some inmates who have been trained to fight fires, responded to a fire on the Bedford/Amherst County line Thursday. They are all working to contain the fire and keep it from spreading.

John Moncure, the incident commander of the US Forest Service, said that Thursday is a critical period in keeping the fire contained.

Since the start of Fall Fire Season on October 15, officials say 54 wildfires have burned through 171 acres.

According to Fire Management Officer Kurt Thompson, the main carrier for forest fires this time of year is the leaf litter.

This forest fire is across the span of 10 acres and is off the beaten path. First responders have to cross a foot bridge and then hike a mile on the Appalachian Trail before reaching it.

"Power lines come down a lot with windy conditions and that always sparks off a fire, so right now it's pretty prime conditions for fire to develop," said Moncure.

The main method crews use to put out the fire is by "starving it." To do this, they cut out all the factors that could cause it to spread, like dry leaves and branches.

 "Right now we're on the ground with leaf blowers, chain saws, and hand tools. Kinda separating the fuels that aren't on fire from the fuels that are on fire to kinda make a fuel break and we've also got a helicopter coming to help us dump buckets of water on it," said Moncure.

The main concern is the weather, dry and breezy weather with low humidity make the perfect conditions for a fire to spread. 

"We seem to be getting a pretty good handle on it, but Mother Nature will dictate whether we continue to do that," said Thompson.

The fire should take days to put out, and the Forest Service said they will have dedicated employees in the woods day and night until the fire is quenched.

"The people that do show up are very dedicated employees. They really enjoy what they do and they're certainly willing to help us anytime we pick up the phone and call them," said Thompson.

Since the fire is near a road and also on part of the Appalachian Trail, the Forest Service said a main concern is the safety of the public. They urge hikers to consider another route, and those who are driving through the area need to be extra careful as smoke can dim visibility on the roads.  

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