GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (WBOY) — After a period of “minimal fire activity” on Wednesday, the Steep Valley fire has produced pockets of smoke in areas of the New River Gorge Park and Preserve, and air quality is forecast to be in the good and moderate range Thursday.
The National Park Service (NPS) said in a news release that the fire is expected to remain minimally active on Thursday, so crews will monitor existing fire lines. As of the end of Wednesday, the NPS said the fire was 78% contained and had grown to 2,206 acres. The fire is in steep and rugged parts of inaccessible terrain in the War Ridge and Backus Mountain areas.
The smoke could lead to a few hours of unhealthy air quality around Prince, West Virginia. The Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program expects a cold front on Friday to improve air quality and smoke levels. Click here to see its full air quality report.
The closure order for 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 and directly south to the CSX railroad right of way at the river is still in place, as is the Temporary Flight Restriction for the airspace 5,000 feet above ground level within a 5-mile radius of the fire.
The National Weather Service is predicting a chance of rain in West Virginia on Friday.