~ Press release provided by Shenandoah National Park
LURAY, Sept. 8 — Shenandoah National Park is experiencing high fire danger due to high temperatures and drought conditions. When the fire danger is “high” fires can start easily and grasses and leaf litter will ignite readily. Unattended campfires and brush fires can get out of control and fires will spread quickly.
Officials are asking visitors to the park to practice extreme caution. Shenandoah Fire Technician Joe Jarrells explains, “Being aware of the obvious like cigarettes and campfires is certainly something we want everyone to do, but it’s also important to pay attention to other less obvious hazards.”
With conditions dryer than usual, heat or sparks from vehicle exhausts can ignite grasses along Skyline Drive so parking on asphalt or gravel is recommended.
Fires are prohibited in the park except in park-built fire grates in picnic areas, campgrounds, and at other facilities. While the park has not yet banned campfires, officials are urging visitors to be certain they are extinguished completely before leaving. Be sure to bring a container to carry water and something to stir with. Officials recommend dousing the fire with water, then stirring it to spread the coals. Don’t leave until the area has cooled completely.
Shenandoah received less than two inches of rain in July and August. To date, the park has had 25.94 inches of rain, considerably off the mark to reach the yearly average of 56.54.
As Shenandoah’s busiest month approaches along with the fall fire season, park officials are asking for the public’s help in preventing wildfires.
If you see smoke or fire in the park, please call the emergency phone line: 800-732-0911.