Forest Fire Related Area Closure Joint New Release
Incident: Easter Complex Wildfire
For Immediate Release April 12, 2012
Contact: Lee Walker (VDGIF) 804.912-6121 VDOF 12034
JoBeth Brown (USFS) 540.265.5102
John Campbell (VDOF) 434.220.9070
Hunting Prohibited on Portions of National Forest System Lands Affected by Fire;
State Lands Unaffected by Fire Open for Spring Gobbler Season on Saturday
Because of threats to public safety due to several large wildfires on National Forest System lands, the Forest Service has closed portions of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests to all public use activities, including hunting for spring gobblers. Since Friday, April 6, 2012, six fires in five western Virginia counties (Shenandoah, Rockingham, Page, Alleghany and Craig) have burned more than 19,700 acres causing the suspension of hunting and other activities in the areas near the fires on the national forests until such time as the areas are deemed safe.
Spring gobbler season will otherwise continue as planned, including on approved state lands managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Department of Forestry. These lands are unaffected by the wildfires. The areas closed to activities are a small portion of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Other areas within the National Forests remain open to hunting and public use activities.
VDGIF, VDOF and the Forest Service are urging hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to use caution while in the woods during this period of extremely dry weather.
VDGIF Director Bob Duncan said, "Hunters looking forward to the opening of the spring turkey hunting season on Saturday should exercise caution and be mindful of the dry conditions as they go afield. We must all do our part in keeping our woods safe."
Hunters are advised to avoid parking vehicles on dry grasses or leaves, and to safely extinguish personal smoking materials.
Maps of closed areas on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/gwj/news-events/ cid=STELPRDB5363131 .