Lightning Sparks Large Wildfires in Western Virginia

April 9, 2010

Crews are working to extinguish fires that have burned more than 1,000 acres in western Virginia.

Fires ignited by lightning have burned more than 600 acres of federal forest land in Bedford County and about 350 acres in Bath County, the U.S. Forest Service said.

In Bedford, a fire near Falling Rock, west of the Blue Ridge Parkway, has burned slightly more than 520 acres, and a nearby blaze at Terrapin Mountain, east of the parkway, has burned more than 90 acres, Forest Service spokesman Don Corban said Friday. Both are 30 percent contained.

The area got up to an inch of rain Thursday, and high humidity also helped curb the spread of the flames. But officials were concerned about Friday's forecast of lower humidity and high winds.

In Bath County, lightning started a fire Tuesday in the Warm Springs area between the Jackson River and the Boiling Springs campground, forestry spokeswoman Sharon Mohney said. The blaze spread over about 350 acres of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

It was 30 percent contained Friday - but steep terrain, blustery winds and lower temperatures were expected to hamper firefighters' efforts.

None of the fires has threatened homes, but Mohney said a forestry archaeologist planned to check on remnants of three old outbuildings near the Bath County fire because of their historic value.

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