Fire lines held despite winds

PETERSBURG – The Smoke Hole Fire, which has burned for more than a week and covered approximately 1620 acres of land in the Monongahela National Forest, is 70 percent contained, forest officials said Tuesday.

Crews were able to hold all fire lines despite strong winds Monday, and planned on spending most of Tuesday “mopping up all burning material within 100-feet of the line and begin initial rehabilitation,” according to a press release from the Monongahela National Forest.

Officials also say they are preparing to turn the fire over to an incident management team, which will help with clean up and maintenance of the area.

Approximately 170

firefighters and support staff still are on scene fighting the blaze, as well as four crews, one module, five engines, two bulldozers and one helicopter.

Only two minor injuries have been reported since the blaze ignited Nov. 10.

The cause of the fire still is under investigation.

Officials also stress the safety of the public and firefighters always is the No. 1 priority. The closure order will remain in effect during active fire suppression and throughout post-fire rehabilitation efforts, officials added. All individuals are prohibited from entering lands within the Smoke Hole Fire closure area unless specifically authorized.

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