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*Fires consume hundreds of acres across valley

A forest fire burns on the Blue Ridge Mountains along Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive near Browntown on Saturday. Andrew Thayer/Daily (Buy photo)

Fire Photos

Photos View reader photos of the fires
A forest fire burns in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive near Browntown on Saturday. High winds and dry conditions caused multiple fires to break out over the weekend. Andrew Thayer/Daily (Buy photo)

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

Three large fires Saturday, worsened by wind gusts approaching 60 mph, destroyed hundreds of acres and threatened almost as many structures in Warren and Shenandoah counties.

Numerous fires were reported throughout the day in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, but three had crews working into the night. The largest, in the Shenandoah National Park in Warren County, stood at 800 to 1,000 acres as of 9 p.m. Saturday, Fire Chief Richard Mabie said. It started on private land at 9:40 a.m. and burned into the federal park, he said.

There were no evacuations as a result of that fire, which officials, as of Saturday night, had yet to have an opportunity to walk, Mabie said.

Evacuations did occur at an estimated 75-acre fire on Blue Mountain in Warren County that started in a house at 3:30 p.m. By 9 p.m., Mabie said residents were being allowed back in. They had been sent to the Linden Volunteer Fire Department before Skyline High School was readied to handle them.

At the fire hall, president Joe McCreary said the house in which the fire started was on Lookout Point Way. It was destroyed, but there were no injuries. A volunteer at the fire hall had informed residents that there was a second house destroyed, but Mabie could not confirm that.

In Shenandoah County, an approximately 400-acre fire started in Conicville, north of Crooked Run Road between Senedo and Lutz Hollow roads. A number of houses were threatened and evacuated, Fire Chief Gary Yew said, but none were damaged. Several outbuildings and small barns, however, did burn.

The fire, which began at 11:30 a.m., was contained by 8 p.m., Yew said. Crews remained at the site to monitor it.

According to the National Weather Service, Warren County, southeast of Front Royal, had a top wind gust of 57 mph at 2:34 p.m. Shenandoah County, near Strasburg, had one of 56 mph at 2:09 p.m.

For further developments, visit nvdaily.com or read the print edition of The Northern Virginia Daily.

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