200 firefighters and support staff working hard to contain Matts Creek wildfire

As of Friday, Nov. 17, the fire spans more than 5,000 acres

(The U.S. Forest Service)

The U.S. Forest Service said Matts Creek wildfire has grown to 5,148 acres and is two percent contained.

Primarily, the fire is burning in the James River Face Wilderness. It’s about 5 miles southeast of Glasgow and 4 miles northwest of Big Island.

About 200 firefighters and support staff are working to put out the flames, including eight fire crews, eight type-six engines and three type-one helicopters.

The U.S. Forest Service said the main concern for the public and firefighters is safety.

Emergency personnel are working to protect private property in and around Hunt Club, Goff Mountain and Peters Creek Roads. There are also additional resources helping to suppress the fire.

The U.S. Forest Service said the Matts Creek wildfire was reported on Nov. 12. During the past five days, it has grown extensively. Officials said the cause of the fire remains undetermined.

Local schools are responding to the Matts Creek wildfire as well. Amherst, Bedford, Rockbridge, Buena Vista and Lexington County schools are all closed. Rockbridge Christian School did not hold classes on Friday either.

No water restrictions or bans are in place for residents or businesses near the wildfire.

The Bedford Regional Water Authority, which covers all of Bedford County, said firefighters are not pulling water from their service area. However, they are closely monitoring water tank levels and are prepared to produce water from their service water. There are also backup stores.

“We are in contact with the other localities and the local fire department to help us learn if anything changes on where they are pulling water,” said Bedford Regional Water Authority’s Director of Administration Megan Pittman.

The City of Lynchburg has not administered water use restrictions either.

“The water use and fire have no impact to our system. The use of water from the James River to fight the fire has an insignificant impact to the total volume of water flowing in the James,” said the City of Lynchburg’s Anna Bentson.

Western Virginia Water Authority does not have any water use restrictions. Also, none are in place for Lexington or Rockbridge County.

About the Author:

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.