Park fire

Luray panoramic

May 8, 1986 — Shenandoah National Park officials kept looking at Tuesday’s bright blue sky and shaking their heads.

They were hoping the few wisps of clouds would darken and produce a good downpour.

But even if the rain didn’t come, officials were optimistic the Park’s largest forest fire ever would be under control by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Despite Tuesday’s sweltering temperate and sunshine, the blaze remained within the fire line crews have dug out in the rugged Blue Ridge Mountain terrain east of Grottoes.

By last Tuesday, the fire had covered 4,475 acres.

A 38-mile section of Skyline Drive has been closed to the public because of the fire.

The cost of the blaze is adding up.

Fighting the fire and feeding, paying and transporting the crews may cost close to $750,000, said John J. Owen, finance director for the firefighting effort. 

~ From the public archives of the Page News and Courier

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