PETERSBURG, W.Va. -- Despite strong and erratic winds Monday, firefighters battling the 1,620-acre Smoke Hole fire in the Monongahela National Forest northeast of Seneca Rocks held all fire lines and now have the blaze 70 percent contained.
Since the fire began Nov. 10, firefighters have scraped away 15 miles of fire lines, while the two bulldozers assigned to fire duty have built an additional 3.5 miles.
According to a progress report on the fire issued early Tuesday by officials with the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District, fire crews were expected to spend the day concentrating on mopping up all burning material found within 100 feet of fire lines. Preparations are being made to turn over the final effort to suppress the fire, which now involves 170 firefighters, to a smaller incident management team.
An emergency closure order for several square miles of Monongahela National Forest land in the vicinity of the fire will remain in effect throughout post-fire rehabilitation effort.