Virginia’s Rocky Mountain Wildfire Increases In Acreage | Update 5


The Rocky Mountain Wildfire started as one fire on April 16, around 1300 hours.  A small fire in size to 200 acres began to head towards another fire in the area, around 25-plus acres.

It is located within the Shenandoah National Park and in Luray, Virginia.

Eventually, the two fires would become one single fire reaching a total of 500 acres by nightfall on the same night the fire ignited growing to 500 acres.

photo from space showing a close view of the burned area and active fire edges with labels

Photo Credit: NASA

Several days ago, it had reached 2094 .  By April 21st, the fire exploded  four times that into 8,952 consumed acres.  The fire is still growing as we speak.

Fire fuels consist of mountain laurel, pine and oak forests with heavier than normal leaf litter and duff.


Fire Photo. Photo Credit: A. Williams, NPS


Firefighters were successful in many areas within the last 24 hours.  Here are some of their accomplishments:

Smoke rises across a ridge in the background

Photo Credit: Jennifer Rabuck/NPS

  • Containment lines were improved by burning off vegetation between containment lines of the main fire yesterday afternoon and evening South Along the Skyline Drive to Mile Marker 80.
  • Fireline improvements along the boundaries along the fire and Skyline Drive across the entire Northern par from Beldor Hollow to the Gap Run area.
  • Contained and extinguished all new spot fires including one that jumped Skyline Drive.

Flames were reported reaching heights of 3-4 feet but have been significantly decreased to 6-12″.  Wind has encouraged the fire behavior to increase at times.


Rocky Mtn Fire.

Photo Credit: A. Williams, NPS



Firefighters have successfully reached a 43% containment status.  There is no estimated timeline when this fire may be fully contained and tapped.


Previously there were over 100 firefighters but as the fire rages on, personnel has increased to 342 attached to this fire incident.


Additional firefighters and equipment did finally arrive.

Currently, there are (2) Type 2 Helicopters, (3) Type 3 Helicopters, (11) Engines, (2) Fixed Wing SEATs (single engine air tankers0) and 2 Air Attack Lead planes.


Photo Credit: L. Wilkolak/NPS

Incident Cooperators are from the National Park Service, Virginia Department of Forestry, Rockingham County Department of Fire & Rescue, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Grottoes Volunteer Fire Department.


We previously reported along with this fire of a missing Fairfax County Firefighter-Paramedic that had been missing on April 15th, has now been found.  It is with great sadness that we announce she was found deceased from a suicide.

Sympathies to her Police Officer husband, her immediate family, Fire and Law Enforcement families and all those who were touched by her compassion and love.  it was a sad day on Thursday, when the announcement was made by both the National Park Service and the State Police.  It is never a good thing to have occur, when a loved one passes.


Photo Courtesy:  Virginia State Police


Fire suppression aircraft has had to be grounded as drones have been present during this incident.  Fire Managers would like to remind those with drones that if you fly, they cannot putting lives and property in jeopardy.

Because of this large of a fire, a TFR [Temporary Flight Restriction] has been placed over this fire until further notice.  Please do not heed Firefighting air resources by breaking the TFR and putting the pilots lives in danger.


The following trails and roads have been closed due to this fire incident:

  • Appalacian Trail
  • Skyline Drive
  • Rockytop Trail
  • Brown Gap Fire Rd
  • Madison Run Fire Rd
  • Rocky Mount Trail
  • Big Run Trail
  • Austin Mountain Trail
  • Onemile Run Trail
  • Lewis Peak Trail
  • Brown Mountain Trail
  • Patterson Ridge Trail
  • Madison Run Spur
  • Doyles River Cabin
  • Furnance Mountain Trail
  • Troyfoot Mountain Trail
  • Blackrock Trail
  • Doyles River Trail
  • Jones River Trail
  • Rocky Mountain Run Trail


If you have concerns or questions regarding the fire, please call the fire information office. 540-999-2152.


Hashtags being used for this fire are:

  • #RockyMountainFire
  • #RockyMountfire
  • #VirginiaFires2016
  • #ShenandoahNF

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