MADISON COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Shenandoah National Park has closed multiple trails due to the wildfire that began in the Quaker Run area in October.
The blaze began on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and on Wednesday, Nov. 8, the National Park Service said it affected 2,960 acres on private acres on private, state and federal lands, with about 670 acres within Shenandoah National Park’s boundary.
On Monday, Nov. 6, the Virginia National Guard deployed two helicopters equipped with 660-gallon water buckets within 24 hours after Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a State of Emergency — due to multiple wildfires around the state.
On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the National Park Service announced that the Rapidan Camp area near the eastern boundary of the central park had closed due to the wildfire.
The closure includes the area around the camp as well as the following trails that lead to it:
- Mill Prong Trail
- Mill Prong Horse Trail
- Stony Mountain Trail
- Fork Mountain Trail
- Laurel Prong from Cat Knob intersection
- Upper Dark Hollow Trail (does NOT impact access to falls)
- The lower Rapidan Fire Road beyond the portion open to bicycles
- Earlier closures included the entire length of the Graves Mill Trail from the intersection of the Staunton River Trail to the Rapidan Fire Road and the entire length of the Wilhite Wagon Trail.
Firefighters and staff from the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF), the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the National Park Service are continuing efforts to contain the fire.
A complete fire ban has been in effect since 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in the park due to heavy leaf litter and extremely dry conditions, according to the Nation Park Service. All open-air fires are prohibited, including in picnic areas and campgrounds.
Heavy smoke from the fire is affecting the central area of the park as well as surrounding communities.
The National Park Service advises visitors and nearby residents to stay alert of local smoke conditions and take necessary precautions.
Daily updates, including a smoke outlook, can be found on the Shenandoah National Park’s website.