VIDEO/PHOTOS: The Matts Creek wildfire ravaging the wilderness near Big Island continued its explosion in size, reaching a burned area of 5,148 acres on Friday morning, officials said.
Crews have been fighting the fire since it was first reported on Sunday night. The fire has continued its massive spread in the days following, fueled by dry weather and windy conditions that have whipped smoke across Central Virginia. In a Friday morning update, a U.S. Forest Service official said there is not yet an update regarding the fire's containment; on Thursday the fire was reported at a 2% containment. The billowing clouds of smoke forced the closures of many schools in the area, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a health alert once more on Friday for counties including Rockbridge, Bedford, Amherst and Nelson.