UPDATE: The National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club have lifted the burn ban on the AT section that includes McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs, and the NPS and ATC have lifted bans previously in effect on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park segments of the AT. Effective December 7, 2016, small camp fires are again permitted in fire grates only at designated locations between Va 624 and Va 652. See our McAfee Knob/Triple Crown page for details on legal locations for camping and campfires, and be safe out there!
UPDATE: December 5, 2016. George Washington & Jefferson National Forest have lifted their fire ban. Please note that FIRE BAN REMAINS IN PLACE FOR NATIONAL PARK LANDS, INCLUDING THE McAFEE KNOB/TINKER CLIFFS SECTION OF THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL, between Va 624 and far side of I 81.
UPDATE: 1:15 pm, Thursday, November 17, 2016.. FIRE BAN NOW IN EFFECT ON APPALACHIAN TRAIL FROM SPRINGER MOUNTAIN, GEORGIA TO US 33 IN SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK. See details of the full ban here.
The ban includes the entire “Triple Crown” section of McAfee Knob, Dragon’s Tooth and Tinker Cliffs. NO CAMPFIRES OR OPEN FIRES at shelters, campsites or dispersed campsites. Campers may use their enclosed fuel stoves for cooking.
If you are thinking about camping in the woods and having a fire on federal land in our part of Virginia – think again. A prolonged dry period with almost no rain during the past 43 days means burning and campfires will not be allowed outside of developed camping areas in the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. “We currently are working to contain two large fires on the Forest that are over 100 acres in size with new fires starting daily,” said Fire Management Officer Andy Pascarella. The fire ban begins Tuesday, November 15, 2016 and will expire Wednesday, February 1, 2017. See the full order here.
The Blue Ridge Parkway already instituted a burn ban on November 9, 2016.
A small fire on McAfee Knob took firefighters 4 days to extinguish last week and the Blue Ridge Parkway is currently fighting a fire at Humpback Gap. About 67 miles of the A.T. is currently closed due to wildfires in North Carolina and Georgia, and a fire ban is also in place along the Trail throughout GA, NC and TN. There’s little chance of rain in the immediate forecast so the fire risk is likely to remain high for some time.
During the ban, open fires may not be ignited or maintained at any shelter or dispersed area along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Use of stoves, lanterns, and heating equipment that use liquid or gas fuel are still permitted throughout the forest – so AT hikers will be able to use their gas stoves at any legal camping spot along the trail.
For more details, see the USFS FAQs on this burn ban.