"The massive wildfire tearing through the southern portion of Shenandoah National Park grew substantially Thursday and crossed over to the eastern side of Skyline Drive in several spots, a development that firefighters had been hoping to prevent. And smoke from the fire has drifted as far north as Washington’s southwestern suburbs, prompting concern from residents there.
The blaze, which is being called the Rocky Mount Fire, began Saturday afternoon and has consumed 8,000 acres of parkland, up from 5,600 on Wednesday. It has grown into one of the worst fires in the park’s 80-year history. The fire is 40 percent contained, but with no significant rain in the forecast, officials think the blaze will not be fully contained until next week.
Even as the fire grows and has shut down portions of Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, National Park Service officials say they are confident that it can be managed, and the rest of the park’s 196,000 acres remain open to visitors. Communities that adjoin the park are not endangered, and no evacuations have been ordered. Small fires that jumped to the east of Skyline Drive on Thursday were quickly controlled by crews creating containment lines and utilizing water drops from helicopters, a Park Service official said."