Matts Creek wildfire burns 3,600 acres in Bedford County

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 12:24 PM EST
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The Matts Creek wildfire in Bedford County has spread 3,600 acres and is 2% contained, according to the USDA Forest Service.

The department says approximately 120 firefighters and support staff, 7 fire crews, 4 Type-6 engines, and 3 Type-1 helicopters are battling the fire.

The fire is five miles southeast of Glasgow and four miles northwest of Big Island. The fire is located south of US-501 and the James River within the James River Face Wilderness in the Jefferson National Forest.

The James River Face Wilderness and all associated trails, including a section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, are closed to all public use due to the ongoing wildland fire.

The following areas are temporarily closed to allow for public and firefighter safety:

  • Appalachian Trail (FT #1) from James River Foot Bridge to Petite’s Gap Road (FR #35)
  • James River Foot Bridge Parking Lot
  • Matts Creek Trail (FT #4/Old A.T.)
  • Piney Ridge Trail (FT #2)
  • Balcony Falls Trail (FT #7)
  • Gunther Ridge Trail (FT #8)
  • Belfast Trail (FT #9)
  • Sulphur Springs Trail (FT# 3001)

Several counties have instituted burn bans due to the risk of wildfires.

This fire is burning primarily within the James River Face Wilderness, where motorized equipment and aircraft are normally prohibited, except for emergencies. The Forest Supervisor has authorized firefighters to utilize chainsaws, leaf blowers, portable pumps, and aircraft to assist with suppression efforts.