BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — It’s day six since the Matts Creek Wildfire started in Bedford. Officials have released new numbers saying the fire is 15 percent contained but has now scorched through nearly 6,835 miles.
“We get smoke depending on which way the wind’s blowing, we get ash from it too,” said Ted Davis, a Amherst county resident.
Residents around Matts Creek have been living with the wildfire for almost a week.
But, until they get rain, officials say containment is the name of the game.
Authorities are keeping the public aware of efforts being made as well as stressing the importance of fire regulations. On Saturday, Aug. 18, Bedford County Fire & Rescue along with the The Southern Red Team, a national complex interagency incident management team, held a press conference to discuss recent efforts which they say has been successful.
“They have created and handlined [primary control lines]. You can see the handline from here which is by the reservoir, which comes down to the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Joe Mazzeo, the public information officer for the Souther Red Team.
Mazzeo says fighters removed fuels along control lines in preparation for today’s wind event.
He says more lines are being worked on to essentially create a box to contain the fire and hold the line.
Now the fire does continues to burn on top of the mountain. Officials say they hope to have all the primary control lines done around the perimeter by the end of the day and hope that they hold overnight.
No evacuation has been called for the area, but with structures being within five miles of the fire, other efforts on Saturday included local fire personnel patrolling the area.
“We’re just making sure everyone’s safe. And if something needs to be initiated we’ll be right there to do it,” said Janet Blankenship, the chief of Bedford County Fire & Rescue.
The chief says with the help of the Southern Red Team, they will determine when or if a vacuation would be necessary. In the meantime, they are stressing fire safety guidelines.
“We have been having illegal burns,” Chief Blankenship said. “We don’t want to get to the point where someone continues to keep burning but we do have measures in place. Our fire marshalls are on board, and they monitor that situation every day.”
Blankenship believes they will continue for at least another week. She and other officials are stressing that if you want to view the fires, use one of the pull-offs alongside the road. They are asking that you use extra caution as the curvy roads and smoke may decrease driver visibility.