GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Steep Valley fire remained at 2,206 acres while containment increased from 78% to 81% as of Friday morning, the National Park Service (NPS) said in a press release.
The fire is in the War Ridge and Backus Mountain areas, a remote part of the New River Gorge National Park with steep, rugged terrain.
Air quality is expected to improve over the next few days after minimal fire activity produced pockets of smoke on Thursday, according to the NPS.
As of Friday morning, resources assigned to the fire were being demobilized or dispatched to higher-priority incidents throughout the region. The NPS said it expects more downsizing after the weekend, and the remaining crews will monitor and improve existing lines and scout for any remaining hot spots over the next few days.
The closure order for the War Ridge and Backus Mountain areas remains in place for the “foreseeable future,” according to the NPS. That closure area includes all National Park Service lands bounded by the New River on the south and west to the town of Quinnimont, due east along State Highway 41 to the intersection of Backus-Red Spring road, then continues directly south to the CSX railroad right of way at the river.
The rest of the park is open for its normal hours of operation.
The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for the area 5,000 feet above ground level within a 5-mile radius around the fire area remained in place as of Friday morning. The NPS did not say what its plans for lifting the TFR were.