The U.S. Forest Service resumed a prescribed burn in the George Washington National Forest today, three days after it was suspended due to strong winds and a small spot fire that started outside the burn’s control lines.
The 4,505-acre Cub Run prescribed burn, one of many the forest service manages each year to prevent major forest fires and help renew forest habitat, includes parts of Second and Third mountains on the Massanutten Mountain ridge line, in both Rockingham and Page counties, the forest service said in a statement.
Firefighters began aerial ignition of the burn today well inside the fire’s control lines, which form a buffer between the burn area and the rest of the forest. About 30 firefighters and support staff will take part in the burn, according to the forest service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While the prescribed burn will take at least two days to fully set, residents in the area could see smoke coming off the mountain for up to two weeks, the statement said.
The original burn began on Saturday, when fire crews started the controlled blaze in the forest northeast of Harrisonburg. Control lines set up around the burn area were designed to keep the fire contained but strong winds on Sunday helped the blaze “jump” the control lines. Firefighters stopped the burn and focused their efforts on reestablishing control lines and putting out the small spot fire outside the lines.
The fire was quickly contained but continued windy conditions kept firefighters from restarting the burn, officials say.
The following roads and trails are temporarily closed due to the burn: Cub Run Road (Forest Road 65) and Pitt Springs Road (Forest Road 375); Massanutten South Trail (#416), Fridley Run Trail (#419), Martins Bottom Trail (#579), Second Mountain Trail (#580), Morgan Run Trail (#583), and Pitt Springs Lookout Trail (#584). The Boones Run Shelter will also be closed during the prescribed burn.