Crews fight wildfire in Grant County

PETERSBURG — Federal, state and local fire crews responded to a wildfire this weekend in the Smoke Hole area of Grant County about 8 miles southwest of Petersburg, in the Monongahela National Forest.

The Castle Fire was reported Saturday morning, and it had grown to an estimated 294 acres as of mid-day Sunday, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service office in Elkins.

As a result of the fire, Smoke Hole Road was closed from Upper Tract to Cabins.

“Our primary goal is to keep everyone safe as they work on this fire,” said District Ranger Troy Waskey in the news release. “Rain is predicted to come through the area this afternoon and should give our crews a break.”

Fire managers will reassess the fire based on the amount and duration of rain the area receives.

“Forest Service officials are continuing to work alongside volunteer fire departments and the West Virginia Division of Forestry to manage this incident,” said Incident Commander Walt Walter in the news release. “We want to thank the local community for supporting your local volunteer fire departments with food and other provisions.”

Prescribed burns that previously were planned for the Big Mountain area in Pendleton County have been put on hold.

The cause of the Castle Fire is under investigation by the USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations. Anyone who has any information about the case is asked to contact Grant County 911 at 304-257-1212.

Smoke may be visible from roads in the area. If motorists encounter smoke on the highway, they should slow down, turn on their vehicle’s lights and drive appropriately for the conditions.

Maps, photos and any future updates will be available at or by calling the Cheat Potomac Ranger District’s office in Petersburg at 304-257-4488.