GLEN JEAN, WV (WVNS) — As of Friday morning, November 17, 2023, the Steep Valley Fire is still at 2,206 acres and is 81 percent contained.
Thursday, November 16, 2023 had minimal fire activity that caused isolated smoke pockets in the area, and over the next few days air quality levels are predicted to improve.
The fire continues to burn in the steep, rugged terrain of the remote War Ridge and Backus Mountain areas of the park, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Resources that are assigned to the fire are being demobilized to higher priority incidents in the region as control is gained over the Steep Valley Fire, and the downsizing of resources will continue after the weekend.
Crews will continue improving and monitoring existing lines, and will keep an eye out for any hot spots that remain in the next few days. Fire management will transition to a Type 4 local unit at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, November 18, 2023. Fire activity is expected to stay minimal, and there has only been one minor firefighter injury so far.
We understand this area is a popular hunting spot. To ensure the safety of firefighters, this area remains closed. As things progress, we will reevaluate with fire managers and provide an update on the status of the closure.Charles Sellars | Superintendent at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
The War Ridge and Backus Mountain areas of the park are still under a closure order that will stay in place for the foreseeable future. All National Park Service lands bounded by the New River on the south and west to the town of Quinnimont, due east along State Highway 41 to the intersection of Backus-Red Spring road, then continues directly south to the CSX railroad right of way at the river are included in the closure area. The rest of the park remains open for normal hours of operation.
More information about the Steep Valley Fire can be found here.