Patrick County wildfire continues to burn

PATRICK COUNTY, Va. – Officials from Patrick County said though they received some much-needed rain, they are still going to need a few days to contain the wildfire.

“We’d love to have more rain,” said Scottie Cassell, the Patrick County Emergency Manager. “We need about two or three days of rain to actually be beneficial, but the little we get did will help slow it down enough for us to extinguish it.”

Firefighters have been battling a wildfire in Patrick County for over a week.

Cassell said despite the dry conditions, they are ahead of schedule.

“We’ve got it about 50 percent contained now,” Cassell said.

He said the mountainous terrain is making it difficult for firefighters to build containment lines.

“The terrain here is just up, down, around — sometimes I feel like we’re passing ourselves,” Cassell said.

Crews from surrounding counties, along with the Virginia and U.S. Forestry Departments, have helped in the fight.

Local farmer Dale Reichenbaugh, lives on the Floyd-Patrick County border where she raises livestock.

She’s been concerned about keeping her farm safe.

“Since I have livestock I need more warning,” said Reichenbaugh. “I look myself. There’s different imagery you can use — satellite imagery — I’ve been keeping up with that.”

She said she’s even made an exit plan in case the fire took a turn.

“My plan, personally, was to flee to a recently logged area that has all bare dirt.”

Now, she’s relying on containment lines to keep the fire from spreading toward the farm.

Officials said due to rainy weather conditions, they cannot use the helicopters to fight the fire.

They are hoping to be back in the air over the weekend.

About the Author:

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.