MASON ADAMS · 18 AUG 16 · AUGUST 2016 · GO OUTSIDE
The first reports of the fire in Shenandoah National Park arrived at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, citing smoke several miles up the Rocky Mount Trail in the south district.
Shenandoah National Park Assistant Fire Management Officer Matt Way reported for work and hiked the Rocky Mount Trail from the park’s western boundary to find a 50-acre fire burning a few ridges below Skyline Drive.
The fire was too large and intense to make a safe direct attack with the few firefighters on site. Instead, Way worked with law enforcement officers to evacuate hikers from the trail, and he began to develop a suppression plan that would use additional resources and require clearance to use chainsaws and leaf-blowers—key tools to fighting eastern fires, but ordinarily prohibited in wilderness areas.
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Photo by – Tom Daly