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'We don't leave until it's out' U.S. Forest Service crews battling Cliff Fire three days later

Cliff Fire is only 30% contained right now

BEDFORD, Va. – The Appalachian Trial and the James River Footbridge are open to the public again, but firefighters are still in the area three days later after the Cliff Fire broke out. They told 10 News they don’t plan on leaving until the wildfire is 100% contained.

Only at 30% containment, the smoke from the Cliff Fire is a lot lighter Monday, compared with the big flames seen Friday.

“We don’t leave until it’s out,” Adam Christy, incident commander trainee for U.S. Fire Service, said.

Christy is also a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service. He was one of the crew members pulled out as the flames grew in the Jefferson National Forest.

Christy described what it was like walking through the mountain during the fire, he said the grass was incredibly overgrown and was chest high. He said, "And then the terrain, it’s named the Cliff Fire for a reason. It’s in vertical rocky phases."

Burned trees left behind can now be seen from the road.

Christy said nine fire crew members are up the mountain working to contain the fire within its lines by using a technique called dry mopping.

“Anything hot with inside the containment lines we actively put out, either just rubbing it together with soil or we use water. So right now, we do have a small hose leak from the bottom using the river. We have means of carrying water on our backs.” Christy said.

U.S. Forest Service said the weekend’s cooler temperatures and light rain has helped them tremendously, but the work isn't done.

“The weather is helping us out, but we are going into a drying trend. It won’t go out until we get significant precipitation on it. So we’re waiting for that event,” Christy said.

Fire officials told 10 News the cause of the fire is still under investigation and they want the public to know Matt’s Creek Trail will stay closed indefinitely.


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