GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The more than 2,000-acre fire in the New River Gorge National Park continues to burn after an increase in fire activity Tuesday.
According to an update from the National Park Service on Wednesday, the fire has now burned 2,182 acres in the War Ridge and Backus Mountain area and is 78% contained. Crews have transitioned from suppression efforts on Tuesday to improving fire lines on Wednesday as fire activity goes down.
All closures that were expanded on Monday and Tuesday remain in place, and a Temporary Flight Restriction has also been added after a drone was spotted in the fire area. Flying unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, within five miles of the fire up to 5,000 feet above ground level is considered a Federal Avion Administration violation and could be dangerous for firefighters.
“All aircraft supporting firefighter operations would temporarily be grounded as drones endanger air crews that are flying. This interruption in firefighting support could put firefighters at extreme risk and could result in grave consequences for those actively engaged in fire suppression,” the release said.
National Park Service land is already one of the few places where it’s illegal to fly a drone in West Virginia.
The release said the people in the area may see additional smoke on Wednesday due to increased fire activity on Tuesday, and the air quality remains in the good to moderate range. Also on Wednesday, a special weather statement was issued by the National Weather Service for fire risk across the state of West Virginia.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.