UPPER TRACT, W.Va. – Despite the winds dying down significantly, firefighters were still dealing with numerous hazards as they battled the massive brush fire that has burned over 2,000 acres of forestland in Grand and Pendleton counties.

UPPER TRACT, W.Va. – Despite the winds dying down significantly, firefighters were still dealing with numerous hazards as they battled the massive brush fire that has burned over 2,000 acres of forestland in Grand and Pendleton counties.
According to West Virginia Natural Resources Police, the fire started early Thursday morning in Smoke Hole. Hunters were evacuated and the public advised to stay clear of the area until further notice.
Friday, firefighters dealt with rolling debris, downed trees, and an  uncontrolled fire edge. More than 50 firefighters and four engines were on the scene.
According to the Forest Service at Monongahela National Forest, fire personnel were engaging the fire directly on the west side Friday by building fireline to protect structures. On the east side of the fire, crews are continuing to scout the Cave Mountain area in anticipation of  conducting burn out operations as necessary to buffer private land between Jake Hill Road and the National Forest boundary.
The fire is generating visible smoke in the area, especially in the valleys. If you encounter smoke on the highway, slow down, turn on your vehicle’s lights, and drive appropriately for the conditions. The public is asked to avoid Smoke Hole Road, which is closed for public safety and due to emergency vehicles accessing the fire.
The Forest Service continues 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.
For future updates visit InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6663/