Department of Forestry: No uncontrolled fires

Virginia Department of Forestry used by permission from VDF Communication Specialist Cory Swift-Turner

Firefighters are mopping up hotspots in Page and Rockingham counties this weekend, but the Virginia Department of Forestry reports that there are no uncontained fires in the area.

The department said it suppressed three new fires covering 14 acres on Wednesday. All three fires were in Dickenson County, the largest of which was 10 acres.

Officials remind the public that dry, windy conditions are returning this weekend. They present an increased fire hazard and burning should be avoided in such conditions.

The statewide burning law is in effect from through April 30. The law prohibits outdoor burning before 4 p.m. when the fire is within 300 feet of the woods or dry grass.

The department adds that smoke may still be visible in some areas. Air quality information is available at

To report a fire, call 911.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Royal Orchard fire update

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Thursday evening a new fire was reported in the Rockfish Gap/Afton area due to a vehicle fire near Interstate 64.

The crews from the Quaker Run wildfire were diverted to assist with the Royal Orchard Fire.

Shenandoah National Park is reporting that Skyline Drive is closed from Rockfish Gap to Lofton Mountain and the Appalachian Trail is closed from Rockfish Gap to Jarman Gap.

Currently the wildfire is at 20 acres, with significant progress in the building of fire lines.

The smoke we are experiencing, especially on the east side of the mountains, is the compiling of wildfires across the state.

Refer to to track conditions.

As a reminder, those with respiratory issues, children, and pregnant women should be particularly cautious.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Virginia wildfires update

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Virginia Department of Forestry is reporting that as of Friday, November 10th, there were 19 wildfires in Virginia that have burned over 9,424 acres including the Quaker Run Fire in Madison County.

Crews are continuing to install sprinkler heads around Camp Hoover near the Rapidan Wildlife Area.

Smoke continues to be a concern in Shenandoah National Park and hikers are encouraged to plan hikes away from the east side of the central portion of the park.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

A holiday for some.

Today is April 20th, or 4/20, a date synonymous with smoking marijuana, but why?  Some suspect it has links to the Bob Dylan song Rainy Day Women #12 and #35.  Twelve times 35 equals 420.  Today is also Adolph Hitler’s birthday.  It was thought that Hitler was addicted to various drugs.  Another theory is that the police code for someone actively smoking marijuana is a 420.  According to Time dot com, all those theories are false.  The most credible story takes us to Marin County, California In 1971, where five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. by a statue of Louis Pasteur that was on the campus to partake. They chose that specific time because extracurricular activities had usually ended by then. The group became known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall. They would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana.  Fast forward to a Grateful Dead concert in 1990 where flyers were handed out inviting people to smoke on April 20th at 4:20.  Steve Bloom, the Editor of High Times magazine got a copy of the poster and in 1991 his magazine published the flyer and the stoner holiday was born.  Recreational use of cannabis is legal in eighteen states and medical use, with a doctors recommendation, is legal in 37 states.  It still remains against Federal law to posses or use marijuana.   Listen to the podcast here;