|This photo was taken by the National Park Service.|
The next time one of you tells me that you are ready to shelter in place for anything and that you don't need a family and animal evacuation plan, I would like you to consider this.
Over the last several days, the Shenendoah National Forest has been experiencing a wildfire. Thus far, 2000 plus acres have burned. Heavy smoke is causing problems for anyone with respiratory history as far away as thirty miles from Richmond. Charlottesville, Staunton and Harrisonburg have heavy smoke and a haze is obvious over the mountains. Yesterday, at DMV in Charlottesville, people could not stop coughing due to the smoke outside, despite the fact that the air conditioning and filters in the building were going at full tilt.
As of yesterday, parts of the Appalachian Trail are closed. Skyline Drive is closed from Swift Run Gap to Loft Mountain. Nicole Mittendorf, a firefighter, was in the park and is presently missing. Please click the link for full details, if you have been in the park recently.
Also, according to local news, this fire is visible from space.
|Photo NPS Alan Williams|
Anyone with a history of respiratory chronic illness, whether they are young or old should have an evacuation plan, which may need to be activated at a moment's notice. Even if the fire itself does not reach your own farm or property, such heavy smoke can be dangerous not only for those with respiratory illnesses but for those with cardiac issues as well.
Thus far, the first has not yet been extinguished and we are not expecting even the possibility of rain until the weekend. Thus far, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Don't let the fact that you have created a safe haven for most disasters prevent you from formulating a viable evacuation plan for yourself, your family and your animals. The life you save could be your own.
Alerts and Conditions from the Park
This is the Smoky the Bear Large Fire Incident Map
UPDATE: According to Richmond Times Dispatch today, the fire has now consumed almost 3000 acres
UPDATE: April 22, 2016
The body of a young woman believed to be Nicole Mittendorf has been found in a rocky region of the Shenendoah National Forest. Police are declaring the death a probable suicide. A medical examiner's report is pending.