Updated on 10-06-2016 10:50 a.m.
The Closure Order for the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area was lifted on October 5, 2016 and all trails are now open. A Fire Ban in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is still in effect due to prolonged drought and will remain in place until weather conditions improve. Gas powered backpacking/camping stoves are allowed in the wilderness area. The current Fire Ban no longer includes the Red Creek Campground and Dolly Sods Picnic Area.
Updated on 09-29-16 5:55 p.m.
Two out of the five wildfires in the Dolly Sods Wilderness have been completely extinguished, and two more fires have been 100 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service team that is managing the Red Creek Fires. There is a fifth fire that firefighters haven't yet been able to contain. This fire was discovered Wednesday, September 29. An explosive safety specialist has been called in to inspect the area surrounding the fifth fire to make sure there are no unexploded ordinances nearby. During World War II, the Dolly Sods Wilderness area was used as a training ground for soldiers, and many artillery and mortar shells shot into the area for practice still exist.
The southwestern portions of Dolly Sods in Tucker County are closed until further notice. The rest of the wilderness area is still open for camping and hiking.
The fires are a 4-mile hike from the nearest road. Thirty Forest Service employees are managing the fires, with the assistance of horses that have packed in supplies.
Updated on 09-28-16 4:40 p.m.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are now five wildfires burning in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. All of the fires are small, less than an acre in size. Three of the five wildfires are 80-100 percent contained. It has been determined that three of the five wildfires were caused by unattended campfires. The cause of the fourth and fifth fire is still under investigation. Fire suppression efforts continue Wednesday and rain is forecasted for the next couple of days, which authorities say should help their efforts to fight the fires.
The Big Stonecoal Trail, Little Stonecoal Trail, Breathed Mountain Trail, Rocky Point Trail and Dunkenbarger Trail all remained closed in Dolly Sods. A fire ban is in place throughout most of the Dolly Sods area.
Updated on 09-26-16 9:30 p.m.
This past weekend was the peak time for tourists to visit Dolly Sods to see the leaves change for fall. But some of these visitors left behind smoldering campfires, and now four wildfires are burning in the area.
The first fire was discovered two weeks ago on September 16th. That fire is still burning, as well as three more that were discovered last Thursday, and this past weekend. Unattended campfires are believed to have caused three of the fires - and the cause of the fourth is still under investigation.