GLASGOW, Va. – The Matts Creek Wildfire is continuing to grow in acreage but also in containment. Now, officials are warning the public to stay safe if they plan to see the fire.
Mike Goff is one of dozens of people gathering to see the fire’s growth.
“Everybody is curious. It’s not every day in this region that you see fires like this,” Mike Goff, a Lyndhurst, Virginia resident, said.
Officials said they know people will want to see this, but they are urging them to stay aware on and off the roads.
“If the locals or public would like to come out and view the fire and take a look at their forest, I would suggest that they go slow, they drive defensively, and they yield the right of way to the fire equipment and other public as they are moving through the woods,” Dave Marion, a Matts Creek fire incident safety officer, said.
Officials said more than 250 fire crews are working to sustain the Matts Creek fire. They said it burned more than 10,000 acres. US Forest officials said they used a helicopter to ignite ridge tops in the northwestern portion of the fire.
Officials said that would help produce a low-intensity fire, which would remove vegetation and protect private communities.
The purpose is in response to an anticipated easterly wind, which could cause the fire to move west to help them better fight the blaze.
“It takes about 30 seconds for those little spheres to tumble out of the aircraft. They can control the different spacings of it, and then when it hits the ground, it ignites in about a hand-cup of fire and that then cruises through the leaf litter itself,” said Jen Croft, an air resource advisor with the Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.
A new fire sparked near Snowden and burned half an acre; crews are working to put this new one out. There are close to 300 people working to put the Matts Creek Wildfire to rest.