By Lynn R. Mitchell
The unusually high winds gusting up to 73 mph on the mountaintops of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Wintergreen Resort overnight caused downed trees including one that fell on a sleeping hiker in the wee hours of the morning. Wintergreen Fire and Rescue posted the following about the incident:
At 2:26AM Wintergreen Fire & Rescue was dispatched to assist a female hiker on the Appalachian Trial in the area of Spy Rock Mountain. The high winds had blown down an approximate 30″ diameter tree which fell on her while she was sleeping.
While traveling to the trail head, units encountered a downed tree completely blocking the Parkway which they had to cut and remove. Crews used a specialized transport ATV to get as close as they could; however, [they] had to hike the final mile +/- on foot using a basket to carry the patient. Her fellow hikers had already extricated her from beneath the tree upon arrival of rescue crews. She arrived at the hospital at approximately 6:00AM.
While crews were preparing for their hike out, the hikers pointed out what they believed to be a mountain fire. Sure enough … currently Piney River Fire, Wintergreen Fire, and the Forestry Department are working to contain.
The winds have subsided today but downed trees and fire continue to pose problems. Be safe out there….