By Jesse Wood
The 200-acre Ashe County fire that started yesterday is about 40 to 45 percent contained, according to N.C. Forest Service spokesman Robert Ross, who was on-site on Monday afternoon.
“It started from a structure fire and spread through the woods,” Ross said, adding that he believed the structure fire was still under investigation with a cause still unknown.
Ross noted that the containment area encompasses a 400 to 500 acre wood area in the West Jefferson and Fleetwood region. Ross said that fortunately roads exist nearby and are helping to contain the fire.
Currently, 35 N.C. Forest Service personnel and 30 volunteer fire department personnel are on the scene as of Monday afternoon.
“With the high winds we are not able to use a lot of aircraft and are waiting until the winds die down, but we are getting a lot of help from VFD and pulling resources from different parts of the mountain area,” Ross said.
See more details about the Ashe County fire below in a N.C. Forest Service press release issued on Sunday.
Currently, tens of thousands of acres are burning in forest fires across Western North Carolina. Primarily, however, the fires have been located in the southwestern mountains of North Carolina. Here’s the latest update on those fires.
Approximately 120 acres have been burned thus far in an ongoing wildfire located in the West Jefferson/Fleetwood area. High winds caused the wildfire to spread from a structure fire on at 240 Hidden Pasture Lane yesterday morning and resulted in a response by the NC Forest Service, 12 local volunteer fire departments, rescue squad, emergency management and law enforcement agencies.
Currently, the fire, which is 40 percent contained, is primarily located in a containment area that encompasses a 400-500 acre wooded area between Mile High Lake Road, Sierra Road and US 221. The NC Forest Service plans to fully contain the fire using natural barriers and a burn-out. Burn-out operations involve working inside a control line to allow the fire to consume fuel between the edge of the fire and the control line.
“Burn-out operations take away the fuel so that if the winds pick up there’s nothing there to burn,” said NC Forest Ranger Tim Lewis.
There are 14 houses and 9 other structures nearby and some residents have voluntarily evacuated but no official evacuation orders have been issued.
“We ask that residents monitor the local radio stations, local newspaper sites and the Ashe County Emergency Management Facebook page for updates. Please do not call the 911 communications center with questions about the fire or school operations as this takes them away from emergency calls. We will attempt to keep updates posted periodically on the fire,” Emergency Management Coordinator Patty Gambill said.
“We appreciate all the donations and assistance from the community,” she added. “It has been a tremendous help.” For information on the effects of smoke, please visit the Appalachian District Health Department website and Facebook page.