UPDATE: 4/20/2023, 5:20 p.m.

FRANKLIN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Crews from multiple counties are still fighting a forest fire near Franklin that started on Tuesday.

According to Pendleton County Office of Emergency Services Coordinator Rick Gillespie, one large forest fire is still active near Franklin. Gillespie told 12 News that that fire is now 1,500 acres and was started by a falling tree knocking down a powerline on Tuesday.

He also said that one structure was destroyed in the fire on Tuesday and several people were evacuated, but no other buildings or homes have been damaged.

Since Tuesday, a number of West Virginia counties have been under a Red Flag Warning due to high burn risk, and on Monday, Gov. Jim Justice issued a proclamation banning all outdoor burning, including campfires.

ORIGINAL: 4/19/2023, 8:19 p.m.

FRANKLIN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Two fires broke out Tuesday in Pendleton County, requiring several crews from surrounding areas to respond.

Both fires were believed to have been caused by downed power lines due to high winds in the region, according to officials.

Smoke Hole Fire

According to a Facebook post from the Upper Tract Volunteer Fire Department (UTVFD), the first fire broke out in the Smoke Hole area of Pendleton County, leading 10 different crews from various departments to respond. The list of crews that responded include:

  • Upper Tract Volunteer Fire Department
  • Franklin Volunteer Fire Department
  • South Fork Volunteer Fire Department
  • Petersburg Volunteer Fire Company
  • Moorefield Volunteer Fire Company
  • West Virginia Division of Forestry
  • Monongahela National Forest
  • Pendleton County Office of Emergency Management
  • Pendleton County 911

The post also thanked the local businesses in the Smoke Hole area that donated food for the crews who are fighting the blaze, as well as the UTVFD Ladies Auxiliary for organizing and arranging the donations.

Hidden Valley/Entry Mountain Fire

According to a Facebook post by Rick Gillespie, the emergency services coordinator for Pendleton County, the Hidden Valley/Entry Mountain fire broke out after the Smoke Hole fire and has claimed at least one structure.

Several crews, including those from the aforementioned list, responded to this fire.

Both fires began amidst a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service for most of the state, which indicates an increased fire risk in the area due to warm temperatures, low humidity, high winds or any combination of the three.

At this time, 12 News has yet to confirm from an official source if both fires have been extinguished.

This is a developing story, stick with 12 News for updates.