Park service, firefighters monitor fire on an island in the middle of the Potomac River

A small, uninhabited island on the Maryland side of the Potomac River has been burning since last week, sending smoke into parts of the area.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to the fire on Hermit Island on Friday, spokesman Pete Piringer said. Some 15 firefighters searched the 4-acre island and confirmed no one is at risk.

Hermit Island Fire
Hermit Island is accessible only by boat. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)

Hermit Island is located between Great Falls Park and the Carderock Recreation Area. It is about 3 miles west of the American Legion Bridge.

There are no structures on the island, and it is only accessible by boat.

Hermit Island Fire
Members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service board boats to investigate a fire on an island in the Potomac River. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)

Piringer said the small fire is contained and burning slowly in the steep, rocky terrain, and he said there is no risk of the fire moving off the island. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The National Park Service Wildland Fire Management and Montgomery County firefighters are monitoring the island. Officials plan to let the fire burn out on its own.

Piringer said smoke could be visible over the next several days.

Hermit Island Fire
Firefighters use a boat to investigate a fire on an island in the Potomac River. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein advised nearby residents to stay inside and use air conditioning or other air cleaning and purifying means. He said as the weather turns over the next few days and the area gets some precipitation, the fire is likely going to burn out.

Below is the island’s location.

WTOP’s Pat Brogan and Liz Anderson contributed to this report.

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