Cliff Fire Update Oct. 6, 2019 8:00 PM

Contact(s): Fire Information at (540) 291-2188

The Cliff Fire is located 5 miles southeast of Glasgow, Virginia and 5 miles northwest of Big Island, Virginia in Bedford County.  The fire is located south of US-501 and the James River within the James River Face Wilderness on the Jefferson National Forest.  The entire fire is on National Forest lands.
Estimated Acreage
Approximately 2-5 acres.  This is unchanged from the last update.
The fire is now 30% contained.
Cause & Date Reported
The cause of the fire is under investigation.  The fire was reported to the Bedford County 911 Emergency Communications Center on Friday, October 4.
Resources on the Fire
Approximately 15 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service are currently working on the fire.
• The Appalachian Trail (Trail #1) between US-501 at the James River south to Petites Gap Road (Road #35), and the James River Foot Bridge Parking Area are now reopened to public use.
• Matts Creek Trail (Old A.T.) remains closed and will remain closed indefinitely.
• The Appalachian Trail and the James River Foot Bridge Parking Area will be evaluated daily while firefighting efforts are ongoing.  Temporary future closures may become necessary as weather and fire conditions change. 
The Cliff Fire continues to burn in very steep and rocky terrain, making fire suppression efforts difficult, and making the construction of firelines immediately next to the fire unsafe.  Firefighters have constructed primary and secondary firelines around the fire.  The fireline on the east side of the fire is an indirect line due to the very steep and rocky terrain.  The fire may grow to the east over the next several days as weather conditions change.  Firefighters will continue to improve the firelines and monitor fire activity and conditions for the next several days.  
Additional Fire Information
• The top priority for fire managers is firefighter and public safety.
• No structures or private land are currently at risk.
• Some light rain fell on the fire Sunday afternoon. This small amount of rain will aid firefighting efforts, but will not extinguish the fire.
• Matts Creek Trail will remain closed indefinitely.  
• The Appalachian Trail and the James River Foot Bridge Parking Area have been reopened.  Their status will be evaluated daily.  Temporary future closures may become necessary due to changes in weather or fire conditions.
• The fire has not increased in size since Friday October 4.
• The fire is located in very steep, rocky, difficult terrain, increasing the complexity of firefighting efforts.
• Today’s relatively cool temperatures, high humidity, and cloudy conditions have reduced fire behavior and are aiding firefighting efforts.
• Persistent dry conditions and leaf fall are also adding to the difficulty of controlling this fire.
• Smoke from the fire will be evident in the area for several days. Drivers on US-501 should use caution due to possible reduced visibility on the roadway.
• Motorized equipment is not routinely used within Wilderness Areas.  Fire managers requested and received emergency authorization to utilize chain saws, leaf blowers, pumps, and helicopters on the Cliff Fire. 
• Forest visitors and users are requested to use caution outdoors at all times.