GLEN JEAN, WV – The Steep Valley Fire remains at 1,946 acres as of Monday, November 13th, 2023 due to
minimal fire activity on Saturday. The fire continues to burn in the War Ridge and Backus Mountain areas, a remote part of the park and remains within park boundaries. Containment is now up to 66% as of Sunday evening, approximately five and one-third miles of the eight and one-half miles of the fire perimeter.
It continues to burn in steep, rugged, and inaccessible terrain. Smoke may be visible when the fire is actively burning, and it may linger in the gorge for several days as it moves across the landscape. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The predicted drying trend has settled into the area which has reanimated fire activity. With the uptick in fire behavior, firefighters will be monitoring the fire and reinforcing fire lines. Firefighters will continue to make tactical decisions which may include burning out pockets of fuels to help strengthen existing lines. With the increase in fire activity, smoke will be present within the gorge and will likely linger for a few days. Air quality in the New River Gorge area is currently fluctuating between the good and acceptable range and will be monitored in the coming days.
As of Saturday, 61 firefighters were actively engaged on the fire. Today, crews will reinforce and maintain fire lines as the warming and drying trend continues for next several days. Firefighter safety remains a number one priority. To date, there has been one minor injury to a firefighter.
The original closure order which included War Ridge Campground and its access road has been expanded.
The new closure order now 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. This expansion of the closure order is being implemented out of an abundance of caution for firefighter safety. The remainder of the park is open for normal hours of operation. Should fire activity and conditions change, park management will reassess for any needs to adjust park operations.
Resources from multiple federal and state agencies from across the country along with a private crew from Oregon have arrived to assist New River Gorge National Park and Preserve personnel. For more information and updates please visit, https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/wvnrp-steep-valley-fire.