- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

11:47 a.m.

GLASGOW, Va. (AP) — A fire that burned nearly 3,000 acres of the George Washington National Forest was set purposely, investigators concluded this morning.

“The determination [by investigators] is that it was set,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Donna Wilson said. “They are going forward with an arson investigation.”

The fire, which was nearly contained late yesterday, began with 10 smaller fires over the weekend and ultimately spread to more than 2,800 acres in the Peavine Mountain area of Amherst County.

No one was injured fighting the fire, and no homes were threatened.

An investigation ruled out lightning, camp fires or any other accidental causes, Miss Wilson said.

An aerial view of the fire pattern led investigators to conclude the fire was set, she said.

B.J. Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service, said the fire was 90 percent contained by last night.

The Forest Service began releasing 40 of the more than 150 people who worked to put out the fire, while other crews continued with cleanup efforts.

“What we’re doing now is looking for hot spots in stumps and large logs and making sure everything 100 feet around the perimeter is extinguished,” assistant zone fire manager Greg Bostic said.

Forest Service roads in the Peavine Mountain area, along with the section of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Otter Creek Campground and U.S. 60, were still closed as of last night.

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