The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a Code Orange in Gloucester due to a fire smoldering on 5,600-acres of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, an 111,000-acre of forested wetlands located on the North Carolina border in southeast Virginia. It is home to a vast number of migratory birds and rare animals and provides over a hundred miles of hiking and biking trails for people…. and it burns. Mother Nature triggered the latest fire which was spotted from the air on August 4 by firefighting personnel returning home from fighting a fire in North Carolina.
Winds have pushed the smoke northward this weekend prompting residents in this area to stay indoors under an air quality advisory…. that personally looks more like a Code Red to me. What we need is rain and lots of it to extinguish this fire smoldering in the organic peat of the refuge. Some rain passed through the area on Saturday and more is in the forecast for later today. But we will receive hardly enough to snuff out a fire of this magnitude. This could be with us for a long, long time.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester