The four-acre island is in the middle of the Potomac, between Great Falls Park and the Carderock Recreation Area, about three miles west of the American Legion Bridge. It is managed by the Park Service and accessible only by boat.
Piringer said fire officials plan to let the fire burn, saying it poses no threat of spreading off the island. About two acres have burned, he said, and authorities believe the fire will burn out within the next week.
Park Service spokeswoman Katelyn Liming said in an email the fire is “burning slowly in steep, rocky terrain and is not at risk of moving off of the island.” She said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
“Smoke may be visible over the next several days,” Liming said.
The fire has caught the attention of residents nearby and those miles away.
Andre Kristinus, who lives about eight miles away in the Wesley Heights neighborhood of Northwest Washington, said he awoke about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when he noticed the odor of smoke, “like those self-burning logs you put on a fire.” When he left home later in the morning, the smell was still there.
“I’m thinking: Is there something to be worried about? What is it? Why is no one talking about it?” he said.
Hermit was in the news last in 2014, when a 25-year-old man was killed after becoming trapped beneath a large boulder when rocks gave way during a hike.