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Rockbridge County blaze spreads to 1,000 acres after vehicle fire

Part of Route 56 expected to remain closed until at least noon Saturday

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va.FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

The Virginia Department of Forestry now estimates that the Tye River Fire has spread to 1,000 acres.

There is no estimate of containment at this time.

It's burning in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests within Augusta and Rockbridge counties.

Firefighters are continuing the line construction efforts that began Thursday and working to protect private land and structures at risk.

Dry conditions, gusty winds and low humidity contributed to the rapid spread of the fire Thursday night.

Firefighting efforts will continue for the next several days and nights.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

Crews are continuing to fight a forest fire Friday morning. Firefighters with the Raphine Volunteer Fire Department say that it's spread to 500 acres. 

A couple of houses are being monitored closely in case the fire spreads more, but so far there are no known mandatory evacuations. No injuries have been reported. 

A stretch of Route 56 is closed until further notice in Rockbridge County. Tye River Turnpike is closed between the Nelson County line and the intersection of Route 608, or South Bottom Road, near the community of Vesuvius, according to VDOT. It will remain closed until at least noon Saturday, when the United States Forest Service will re-evaluate. 

Officials do not yet know how much of the fire, if any, is contained. They say it is too early to be able to tell. Firefighters say they have not yet been able to see the fire from the air. 

There are about 40 firefighters fighting the blaze now and they are calling for assistance from other departments. 

This fire was started by a vehicle fire Thursday evening. Windy conditions caused it to spread quickly. 

The people in the vehicle did not have cellphone service and had to hike up the mountain to get a strong enough signal to be able to call 911. Once firefighters arrived, the fire had already started to spread. 

ORIGINAL STORY

Fire crews are working to put out a fire in Rockbridge County.

The fire, which began at about 5:45 p.m., has expanded and is now a few hundred acres large, according to Rockbridge County Fire & EMS Chief Nathan Ramsey.

High winds between 6 and 7 p.m. caused the fire to spread and the Virginia Department of Forestry is working to extinguish the blaze.

There are no mandatory evacuations, but those living nearby have been alerted, said Ramsey.

No injuries have been reported, said Ramsey.

A portion of Route 56 in Rockbridge County is closed due to a forest fire.

Tye River Turnpike is closed between the Nelson County line and the intersection of Route 608, or South Bottom Road, near the community of Vesuvius, according to VDOT.

The closure of Route 56 is expected to remain in place for at least 12 hours.

Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes if they had planned to use Route 56 on Thursday night or Friday morning.