An approximately 200-acre fire in the north district of Shenandoah National Park has forced trail closures. Firefighters are on the ground working to contain the Neighbor Mountain Fire.
Park spokesperson Karen Beck-Herzog said the fire is burning entirely within the park on Neighbor Mountain and was reported Tuesday morning at approximately 6:40 a.m. Beck-Herzog said the fire has grown, “but we haven’t been able to fly the fire in a while so we’re not sure of total acreage at this moment or whether the fire may become worse.”
She said the fire is moving on the surface of the forest floor where hardwood leaf litter has accumulated and that “we think lightning is the likely cause of the fire.” The weather for this afternoon at the park includes bright sun, breezy winds in excess of 10 mph, temperatures in the upper 80s, and low humidity. Temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 90s over the next several days with little chance of precipitation.
To ensure visitor safety, the park has put trail closures into effect until further notice: The Appalachian Trail between Elkwallow and Beahms Gap, and Jeremys Run, Knob Mountain, Knob Mountain Cutoff, and Neighbor Mountain trails. Byrds Nest #4 Shelter and Jeremys Run Overlook are also closed. The rest of the park and Skyline Drive remain open.
In a release on June 28, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. the park said that resources assigned to the fire include personnel from the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of Forestry, and Mississippi Forestry Commission. Additional firefighters and equipment are en route.