Easter Complex Fire in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia
Several fires are burning in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests of Virginia and smoke plumes from some of them were visible in imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies onboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of fires and smoke from the Easter Complex fires in western Virginia on April 12 at 15:50 UTC (11:50 a.m. EDT) when the wind was blowing from the north, pushing light streams of smoke to the south. The fires appear as red pixels and smoke from the fires appears light brown. The two plumes of smoke appear to be coming from the fires near Harrisonburg and Buena Vista, Virginia. Both towns are along the Interstate 81 (I-81) highway that runs southwest to northeast along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Interstate 64 (I-64) remains open with caution signs warning travelers of possible smoke.
The mid-Atlantic is experiencing a springtime drought and over Easter weekend scattered fires were ignited as a result of dry conditions, warm temperatures and low humidity. Fires were active in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. According to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the fires spread quickly, and despite intense and coordinated efforts by the USFS, Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF), and volunteer fire departments. So far, 17,711 acres have burned in these fires.
According to Inciweb, the "Incident Information System" website that reports wildfire conditions throughout the country, "on Wednesday, April 11, the Southern Area Type I Blue Team was delegated command of five fires that make up the Easter Complex: Barbours Creek Fire (Craig and Alleghany Counties), Wolf Gap Fire (Hardy Co., WV and Shenandoah Co., VA), Alleghany Tunnels Fire (Alleghany Co.), Rich Hole Fire (Alleghany and Rockbridge Co's.), and Shipwreck Fire (Page and Rockingham Co's)."
On April 13, The Virginia Department of Forestry reported, "Good progress was made on the Wolf Gap fire today due to light precipitation received overnight limiting fire spread and allowing resources to establish and enhance control lines." For updates, visit Inciweb: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2826/.
Image: NASA Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Text: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Rob Gutro