Assessing the damage: Matts Creek wildfire fully contained

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – Forestry leaders are surveying the damage after they announced the Matt’s Creek wildfire was fully contained on Monday.

The fire burned more than 11,000 acres in the George Washington Jefferson National Forest. We’re told that makes it the fourth or fifth largest fire in Virginia’s history.

On Monday, charred ground was visible where flames used to be, but forestry leaders said they believe the land will recover.

“There are some pockets of high-intensity fire damage but for the most part a lot of the fire will kind of give rebirth,” Forest Supervisor for George Washington Jefferson National Forest Joby Timm said. “It’s kind of mother nature’s way of reestablishing.”

[UPDATES: Matts Creek wildfire now 100% contained, area expected to fully reopen Tuesday morning]

Timm said the fire grew so large that they had to use mechanical equipment, which isn’t usually allowed on National Forest land except under special circumstances.

“We did really go full suppression type of firefighting activity where we approved mechanical equipment to get in there and deal with the fire to suppress the fire,” Timm said.

A group gathered to tour wildfire damage on Monday. U.S. Congressmen Morgan Griffith and Bob Good said they’ve been watching the fire closely.

“We’re just thankful that homes weren’t destroyed, and there wasn’t a need to evacuate and just thankful again to all of our first responders,” Congressman Bob Good said.

“This is really a lot of good news where there could have been a lot of bad news,” Congressman Morgan Griffith said.

Timm said the cause of the fire is still under investigation and will likely remain that way for a few weeks. However, they don’t believe it to be electrical in nature.

About the Author:

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.