Great Dismal Swamp Fire Burns Almost 6,000 Acres - NBC4 Washington

Great Dismal Swamp Fire Burns Almost 6,000 Acres



    View video of the fire at the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011)

    A wildfire in the Great Dismal Swamp National Refuge has grown to almost 6,000 acres and firefighters are working to strengthen fire lines to contain it.

    The National Park Service said that ash was being blown along with smoke from the fire, which was detected as far north as Baltimore on Saturday.

    An incident report released Friday afternoon says the fire is “burning anything in its path” but it isn't advancing quickly. Ten percent of the fire has been contained. 

    Spokesperson for the Great Dismal Swamp Refuge Cindy Lane said the fire is on the same site as a large 2008 blaze, and the area there still had debris and low-growing brush that has become fuel for the current fire.  The ground there is a peat bog, made up of decomposing, combustible plant matter that is burning now.  After reaching hardwood portions of the park, the fire's initial rapid spread has slowed.

    Crews plan to install pumps to flood the Railroad, Interior and South Ditch areas with water from Lake Drummond.  According to the incident report, the fire is the largest in the refuge's history.  Lightning sparked the fire on August 4.

    Smoke from the fire has been visible in satellite photographs taken from space.  News4 viewers have reported smoke and haze across northern Virginia and Maryland.  Officials have said smoke from the fire has been detected in Baltimore and Annapolis.