Forest Service plans to conduct prescribed burn near Montvale in Bedford County, VA beginning Sunday, April 24

Location: The 1,034-acre Black Horse Gap burn area is located three miles northwest of Montvale and ten miles northeast of Roanoke on National Forest Service lands in the Day Creek trailhead area.

Date and Time: Fire Specialists may begin igniting the prescribed burn as soon as Sunday, April 24, if weather conditions allow. Small sections of the area would burn on Sunday to reinforce and expand fire control lines. Fire Specialists plan to ignite the larger prescribed burn area on Monday, April 25.

Purpose: Prescribed fire has multiple benefits. The purpose of this burn is to help keep the public and homes safe by reducing the buildup of dried leaves and wood in nearby forest land that can lead to uncontrolled wildfires. This area has a history of wildfires which threatened nearby residences, including the 1,151-acre Quarry wildfire in 2006 and the 1,519-acre Blackhorse wildfire in 2008. This prescribed burn will also help restore yellow pine to the landscape and improve wildlife habitat by creating more open woodland conditions.

Road and Trail Closures: The section of the Blue Ridge Parkway from the intersection with U.S. Route 460 to the intersection with State Route 43 will be closed during the burning operations on Monday, April 25. The Day Creek Trailhead, portions of the Glenwood Horse Trail (Forest Trail #3004E) and Forest Service Roads Day Creek (Forest Road#3078) and Black Horse Gap East (Forest Road #186-2) will be temporarily closed for the duration of the burn on both Sunday, April 24 and Monday, April 25. For your safety, please follow posted signs and closures when they occur.

Additional Information: Smoke from this burn will be visible throughout the area, including from the Blue Ridge Parkway, U.S. Route 11, I-81 and U.S. Route 460 and from the towns of Montvale, Buchanan, Bedford, Blue Ridge and Roanoke.

Expect reduced visibility, drive with caution and use fog lights if driving through smoke.

Smoke is expected to lift high into the air during the daytime, but may settle into low lying areas in the evenings. There may be lingering smoke effects in the Montvale area. The fire will continue to burn in the area and firefighters will continue to monitor the burn for several days.

Forest Service fire specialists are conducting this burn in partnership with the National Park Service and Bedford County.

Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest fire managers will conduct this prescribed burn only under appropriate weather conditions. Experienced fire managers will closely monitor local weather conditions, such as wind and humidity, and adjust the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of both crewmembers and local residents. Prior to lighting the burn, crews construct and designate firebreaks to ensure the fire does not leave the burn area. Some individual trees will burn, but the fire should travel mostly across the forest floor.