UPDATE: 11/16 AT 4:30 P.M. AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Amherst County Public Schools announced they will be closed on Friday, Nov. 17, due to the increased smoke in the area.
This decision is based on information from Amherst County Public Safety, US Forest Service, and Air Resource advisors. The school district says there will not be online instruction.
Amherst County Public Schools will continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend and an update will be provided on Sunday, Nov. 19.
AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — With smoke hovering over parts of Central Virginia, the Matts Creek wildfire is continuing to impact areas surrounding Bedford County.
However, as the fire continues to grow, the Amherst County Department of Public Safety reports heavy smoke can now be seen throughout the county. The wildfire has burned over 2,000 acres, in the Jefferson National Forest. Its impacts have made its way to Lexington and Rockbridge County, causing schools to close in the area.
On Thursday, Nov. 16, the department says 911 Dispatch has been overwhelmed with callers reporting smoke. Officials are reminding the community to not call 911 unless they believe there is an active fire that has not been reported, or if they see flames.
Public Safety is asking the public to avoid the Route 130 area, Elon Road, between Route 501 and Rockbridge County, if possible. This will prevent traffic hazards.
“Amherst County Public Safety, Amherst County Public Schools, local volunteer fire departments, and Amherst County Administration are actively working with the US Forest Service, Air Resource Advisors assigned to the Matts Creek fire, and other critical partners to make decisions to keep our community safe,” said the