Update 7:10 p.m.: This fire is being handled by a unified command of Roanoke County Fire and Rescue, Virginia Department of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service. Most of this fire is on federal land and the U.S. Forest Service estimates the size at 325 acres. There are approximately 80 total personnel fighting this fire. There were some structures threatened in the early stages of the fire but all of those were protected and there are currently no structures threatened.
There are currently 2 helicopters operating with air water drops on this fire. There have been no injuries.
Catawba Valley Drive remains closed at Absalom Smith Road and the Appalachian trail from the parking lot at the top of Catawba Mountain out McAfee’s Knob remains closed as well.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to have crews on this fire overnight and into the morning. Roanoke County Fire and Rescue will assist them with medical support and some firefighting support as well.
Roanoke County, VA—April 29, 2018) Roanoke County Fire and Rescue responded at about 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, 2018 to Catawba Valley Road for the report of several small wildland fires along the side of the road heading up the mountain towards McAfee’s Knob.
At the time of this release, the fire is moving rapidly due to the windy conditions. Route 311, Catawba Valley Drive is shut down to all vehicle traffic and we are asking that motorists avoid that area. Also, the Appalachian Trail in the area of McAfee’s Knob is being evacuated and we are asking for hikers to avoid this area.
Along with nearly every station from Roanoke County, we are also receiving assistance from Salem, Elliston, Virginia Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. Bulldozers and a helicopter are being used to try and stop the fire.
There is no estimate at this time on the size of the fire or on how much has been contained. Updates will be provided as we have more information.