Virginia Forest Fires Are Expected to Be Quelled by Nightfall

Flames Ravage Hundreds Of Acres of Timber In Giles County

By the Associated Press

PEARISBURG, Va., May 7.—The forest fires which have ravaged hundreds of acres of valuable timberlands in Giles County since Monday were reported to be well in hand today.

Pearisburg citizens who could see the fires from their homes said the flames, which at peak height have flared to 200 feet, were burning low. They expected the situation to be completely in hand by night.

Since Wednesday, the local volunteer firefighters have been aided by 200 soldiers from Camp Pickett, the soldiers working in day and night shifts of 10. A fresh shift of the Camp Pickett men, who are quartered in the Pearisburg High School gymnasium, went to the fire area this morning.

Concentrate on Flat Top.

State forestry officials have concentrated on keeping the flames, which have darkened many acres of Sugar Run Mountain, from reaching Flat Top Mountain. On and beyond Flat Top not only lies thousands of acres of valuable white oak and poplar trees, but the city of Pearisburg. If the fires had crossed and consumed Flat Top, there was a strong possibility they would have gone on across Non-Business Creek and through woods to within a few hundred yards of Pearisburg.

At the peak of the emergency, Pearisburg High School boys were called to help Pearisburg citizens, volunteers from neighboring towns and farm folk. The boys were still helping to fight the fire today. State Forester Fred C. Pederson sent out an appeal for additional assistance Wednesday, when the Pickett soldiers were rushed to the scene, with MaJ. Thomas J. B. Lohr in command.

Elk Take Refuge in Valleys.

Dozens of frightened elk took refuge in the valleys. The sections, where the fire has wrought havoc, has been a favorite hunting grounds for sportsmen for many years. Loss of animals and birds was said to be heavy.

The fires went out of control Monday, when they swept from Bland County into Giles. The timberlands of Sugar Run Mountain flared for hours, threatening Flat Top. Yesterday, in order to save the latter mountain, the fire fighters concentrated on the banking of a fire trail on Flat Top Mountain, using the well-known device of back-firing.

Evening star (Washington, D.C.), 7 May 1943.

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