AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – Driving along U.S. Route 501 between Big Island and Glasgow, you’ll find many people on the side of the road staring as the flames from the Matts Creek wildfire spread.
Different people have different emotions when it comes to the fire. Some are fearful and emotional as they see a place called home in flames. Others are itching to get pictures of what you can say looks like a scene out of a movie.
Chris Wilson who lives in nearby Forest is taking the wildfire as a teaching opportunity for his kids.
“Even though it’s dangerous, what it will bring back into the woods once it’s through. This world has so many things that kids are scared of in it and so just talking about it and making it normal to talk about those things,” Wilson said.
Some of the images of the fire come from the Amherst County side of the mountain. However, the side people fear is in Bedford County as compared to the Amherst side, there is no James River acting as a control point.
“It’s definitely daunting. We don’t want anybody to have their land destroyed, especially not their homes. It’s been nice that it’s isolated to the forest so far. I hope some water moves in and they can get it under control quick just for everybody’s families,” Wilson said.
According to the Forest Service, a closure on the Blue Ridge Parkway from milepost 66.3 to 85.9 is in effect until further notice, and park visitors should plan for a detour.
Trail closures are still in place as follows:
- Appalachian Trail (FT #1) from James River Foot Bridge to Petites Gap Road (FR #35)
- James River Foot Bridge Parking Lot
- Matts Creek Trail (FT #4/Old A.T.)
- Piney Ridge Trail (FT #2)
- Balcony Falls Trail (FT #7)
- Gunther Ridge Trail (FT #8)
- Belfast Trail (FT #9)
- Sulphur Springs Trail (FT# 3001)
- Glenwood Horse Trail (FT#3004) from the Blue Ridge Parkway crossing to the Hellgate Trailhead