Mountain fire burning on Sleepy Creek

photo by Stacy Schultz

A brush fire called into Morgan County 911 this afternoon has grown into a mountain fire still blazing on the west side of Sleepy Creek Mountain near White’s Gap. Fire crews from at least four states were dispatched to the area of Mountain Run Road, just north of the White’s Gap public access road into the 22,000-acre Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area. By sundown, the fire had grown to at least 50 acres and was moving toward the top of the mountain and to the south, said one public official at a staging site near the mountain’s jeep trail.

Residents of the Highland Ridge area have captured photos of the blaze moving from a single smoking spot to a blazing orange line of fire as night fell. Brush equipment is necessary for the rough terrain, and before dark, at least one helicopter was seen flying over the fire area to assess the situation.

Public safety officials have not made any public orders affecting homeowners in the area, or said how they expect to contain the fire. Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area is almost entirely forested in the affected area, covered primarily in mature hardwoods. There are few passable roads that provide access to the public land, which straddles the Morgan and Berkeley County lines.

Fire crews have been working for more than seven hours to hold back the woods fire. Anyone wanting to donate water, sports drinks or snacks for those working the fire can drop those donations at the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department on Mercer Street.  Firefighters are expected to be on the scene through the night.

photo by Stacy Schultz