U.S. Forest Service Fights Wildfire on Massanutten Mountain in Virginia

More than 350 acres burned since Monday

Firefighters in Virginia are working around the clock to try to get the upper hand on a raging wildfire that has already scorched more than 350 acres on Massanutten Mountain since Monday.

A helicopter makes about 45 runs a day dipping a 90-gallon bucket in the Shenandoah River and dousing the fire. As of late Thursday, the fire was only five percent contained.

“We need all the water we can get,” said Stephanie Bushong, of the U.S. Forest Service. “Actually, we need Mother Nature to help. We need rain."

Warren County Report Publisher Dan McDermott noted how difficult the location is.

“You’ve got a helicopter dumping water, but that's a drop in a bucket for a 200-acre fire,” he said.

The U.S. Forest Service is trying to keep the wildfire on the mountain and prevent it from spreading toward homes and farms by putting in fire lines.

"We’re also doing a burn out today,” Bushong said. “So you might see more smoke than you’d expect, but that’s because we’re actually using fire to reduce the fuel and put in some black line in front of that fire line, which helps to stop the fire."

Some hiking trails have been closed, and people who live near Massanutten Mountain have been warned by the fire marshal that they may be told to evacuate if the fire spreads in the next few days.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. People in the area say it started at the top of the mountain and has spread down both sides.

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