RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin has declared a State of Emergency for the Commonwealth of Virginia as multiple wildfires continue to spread across the state.
The State of Emergency went into effect on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia is experiencing multiple wildfires around the state due to extremely dry conditions and high winds, both of which are common during the ongoing fall
fire season,” Youngkin said in his executive order. “These fires have and may continue to pose a significant threat to public health and safety. Specifically, two fires- the Quaker Run Fire in Madison County and the Tuggles Gap Fire in Patrick County broke containment lines in recent days. As such, additional resources are needed to contain these fires and respond to additional fires as necessary.”
As a result of the executive order, Youngkin has ordered state agencies to implement the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan. Among other orders, the Virginia National Guard will be deployed to aid the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other local agencies.
The Virginia National Guard posted on social media Tuesday just before 9:30 a.m. that its flight crews are providing aerial fire suppression at the Madison County fire.
In an update Tuesday afternoon, the Virginia National Guard said in the first 24 hours, VNG crews made 15 drops of nearly 10,000 gallons of water.
VNG says its support is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
“We are extremely proud of how quickly and safely our aviation crews responded to start assisting with aerial fire suppression in Madison County after Governor Youngkin’s emergency declaration,” said Brig. Gen. Todd H. Hubbard, the Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff. “The role of the National Guard in domestic operations is to provide additional capabilities to partner agencies to help our fellow citizens in times of need, and this is a perfect example of how that works. The Department of Forestry and firefighting crews from across the region have been battling the fire in Madison County for nearly two weeks, and now our capabilities give them extra resources in the fight. It is an honor to work with such dedicated professionals towards a common goal.”
Shenandoah National Park issued a complete fire ban effective Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The Quaker Run fire has burned approximately 2800 acres on private, state, and federal lands with about 670 acres within Shenandoah’s boundary. Smoke continues to be a concern. Get daily updates on the air quality at this link. Updates are published by 8 a.m. daily.
According to Attorney General Miyares, Youngkin’s declaration has also triggered the state’s anti-price gouging statutes, preventing consumers from being forced to overpay during an emergency event.
“The anti-price gouging laws in Virginia safeguard Virginians from exploitation by bad actors during a time of crisis,” Miyares said. “Any violations of Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act will be thoroughly prosecuted by my office.”
The State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days from when it was announced.