UPDATE: Officials say the fire has now grown to 7200 acres, with 30 percent contained.
It’s still not known what started the fire.
Another public meeting about the fire will be held at Pedlar Fire hall on Friday night at 7 p.m.
North Fork Road (SR 635) closed at Panther Mountain (FR #1286)
Thrasher’s Creek Road (SR 617) is closed at Molly’s Mountain due to firefighting activities.
Local traffic will be permitted.
The Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area is temporarily closed due to fire activities. All roads and trails within the Scenic Area are temporarily closed including:
Wiggins Spring Road/Hog Camp Gap Road (FR #48) is closed from the junction at State Route 634 (Coffeytown Road) through to Salt Log Gap
Coon Bridge Road (FR #1167)
Cow Camp Road (FR #520)
Fletcher Mountain Road (FR #507)
Appalachian National Scenic Trail (FT #1) from Long Mountain Wayside to Salt Log Gap
Old Hotel Trail (FT #515)
Henry Lanum Trail (FT #702)
Mt. Pleasant Trail (FT #704)
UPDATE: Officials say nearly 6,500 acres of land have burned in Amherst County due to wildfires.
They say current weather conditions will help slow the spread of the fire.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 4,400 acres have burned in the Amherst County brush fire, officials have announced.
Local, state and federal officials hosted a public meeting in Amherst County Tuesday night to update the community about the brush fire burning in and around the Mount Pleasant Scenic Area.
According to officials, the U.S. Forest Service and the Virginia Department of Forestry are both working to put out the fire, which was first reported on Saturday.
About 150 people have been fighting the fire, using a wide range of equipment including helicopters, engines and tractor plows, and more resources are on the way, according to Don Pyrah, public information officer from the Montana Type 3 Incident Management Team.
Officials told the crowd their main priority right now is protecting lives and structures in the fire’s path. They have concentrated their efforts on the south and east sides of the fire, creating fire lines there because the winds are blowing in that direction and the flames threaten people and homes in that area, according to officials with the U.S. Forest Service.
The winds recently died down, Pyrah said, so that helped with the fire fight, but officials have not yet been able to determine how much of the fire is contained.
There is no way of knowing how long it will take to put the fire out, Pyrah explained, since it all depends on the weather.
“Mother Nature has a hand in how this thing all plays out, based on wind conditions as these folks saw the other day,” Pyrah said. “And we’re just going to hold on and hope and keep working hard and diligent, and we’re going to do the best we can.”
Many people at the meeting asked about ways they can help. If you live near the fire, officials suggest moving leaves, firewood and any flammable material about 50 feet away from your home. That helps prepare your home for the firefighters in case the fire moves closer, officials said.
Several roads remain closed near the fire, Pyrah said, advising drivers to use caution as many fire vehicles are making their way through the area.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to officials.
Officials will host another public meeting Wednesday night to provide an update and answer questions. It will be held at the same location and at the same time – 7 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church, which is located on Central Church Lane in Amherst County.