Despite the warm, dry conditions, firefighters are making significant progress on containing most area fires. All major fires in the Nantahala National Forest are now at 50% containment or higher. Total large fire acreage today is at just over 44,000 acres, an increase of 2,310 acres from yesterday. Drought conditions continue to worsen across North Carolina. Temperatures today and tomorrow are forecasted to be at or near record levels. Winds will increase tomorrow and into the weekend as the cold front moves in. Any rain associated with the front is forecast to dissipate before it reaches North Carolina. Firefighters are preparing for the wind event by securing firelines and making sure structure protection measures are in place.
AIR QUALITY INFORMATION
A code orange air quality alert is in effect today for Asheville Valleys (under 4,000ft in elevation). Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
A code red air quality alert is in effect today for Hickory and areas in the NC foothills. A code red alert for AQI (Air Quality Index) means everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Limit your time outdoors today. Keep windows and doors closed in your home and run your HVAC.
Governor Pat McCrory announced today that the state is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to be issued to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are responsible for setting wildfires in western North Carolina. Anyone having information concerning these wildfires should contact Macon County Crimestoppers at (828) 349-2600 or Jackson County Crimestoppers at (828) 631-1125.
A total fire ban is in effect for all lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests; however, commercially available heating equipment, portable lanterns, or stoves that use gas or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed. More information is at
A North Carolina Forest Service ban on all open burning in all 25 Western NC counties. More information is at www.ncforestservice.gov/news_pubs/newsdesk_2016.htm# 1107161
TODAYS UPDATES ON MAJOR AREA FIRES
MAPLE SPRINGS AND OLD ROUGHY FIRES (USFS-LAKE SANTEELAH AREA, GRAHAM COUNTY)
Despite another warm, sunny day, fire activity was quiet again Wednesday on the Maple Springs and Old Roughy fires. The Old Roughy Fire is now fully contained. An infrared flight late Wednesday night revealed most of the heat remaining on the Maple Springs fire is located along and inside the southern and western perimeters, with some pockets of heat in the interior of the fire.
Maple Springs: Acreage: 7,705 – Containment: 50% – Personnel: 341 – Start Date: November 4
Old Roughy: Acreage: 657 – Containment: 100% – Start Date: November 8
TELLICO FIRE (USFS-NANTAHALA GORGE AREA, SWAIN AND MACON COUNTIES)
Fire managers who inspected most of the fire’s perimeter yesterday reported seeing very little smoke near containment lines or in the interior. Even though a lot of mop-up work remains, they were very pleased with the crews’ progress and the condition of the containment lines. Acreage: 13,874 – Containment: 81% – Personnel: 464 – Start Date: November 3
BOTELER FIRE (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, CLAY COUNTY)
Although the smoke has cleared in the Hayesville area, freshly fallen leaves within the Boteler Fire’s containment lines are still burning. Yesterday, helicopters dropped water on interior hot spots northeast of East Vineyard Road. Today, crews will continue aggressive mop up to strengthen existing firelines.
Acreage: 8,975 – Containment: 57% – Personnel: 426 – Start Date: October 25
PARTY ROCK FIRE (NCFS-LAKE LURE AREA, RUTHERFORD, BUNCOMBE, AND HENDERSON COUNTIES)
Firefighters continue to secure containment lines and conduct burnout operations on the Party Rock Fire in advance of a strong cold weather front that will move through the area this weekend. Burnout operations were completed on the northern containment line along Rolling Ridge Road in Gray Rock. The northern half of the eastern containment line was successfully burned out, and today’s operations will continue.
Acreage: 5,714 – Containment: 19% – Personnel: 426 – Start Date: November 5
CHESTNUT KNOB FIRE (NCFS-SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK, BURKE COUNTY)
Air support was utilized again yesterday with water and retardant drops. Additional resources have been ordered to support suppression efforts and are arriving daily. Today, crews are continuing burn-out operations, mop-up, and patrolling fire lines.
Acreage: 5,698 – Containment: 35% – Personnel: 234 – Start Date: November 6
ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE (NORTHWEST OF CLAYTON, GA)
7,999 acre fire is 20% crossed over into NC in the Southern Nantahala Wilderness last night. The fire is currently five miles southeast of the town of Shooting Creek, NC. More info at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5100/
EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES
Please visit Inciweb websites for the most up to date information:
BURKE COUNTY Mandatory Evacuation:
Residents along Bob Knob Road.
Evacuation Shelter: Collett Street Recreation Center, 300 Collett St. Morganton
HENDERSON COUNTY Mandatory Evacuations:
Residents in the following locations:
- Rumbling Bald Resort (except Apple Valley community)
- Chimney Rock from County Line to Boys Camp Road (Boys Camp Road now open to residents only)
- Bat Cave from Intersection of 74/64 to Shumont Road off NC 9 North
- Shumont Mountain in Buncombe County
- Standing Gap and Roaring Rock Mountain
Evacuation Shelter: Grace Lutheran Church, 1245 6th Avenue West in Hendersonville
NANTAHALA NATIONAL FOREST CLOSURES
Major closures on the Nantahala include:
- Southern Nantahala Wilderness (North Carolina)
- Nantahala National Forest lands east of Eagle Fork community to Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary
- Nantahala National Forest lands south of US 64 and Allison Creek Road (SR 1448), to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary (including the Standing Indian and Hurricane Creek areas)
- Nantahala National Forest lands west of the Nantahala Mountains ridge from Mooney Gap to Wallace Gap, and west to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary (including the Appalachian Trail, side trails, and shelter sites)
- Nantahala National Forest lands north of US64 and east of State Road 1330 to Nantahala Ranger District boundary
- Nantahala National Forest lands south and east of State Road 1307 from State Road 1330 to US64 and the Nantahala Ranger District Boundary
- Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness
- Wesser Creek Trail
- Chunky Gal Trail
- Whitewater Falls Trail and portions of Foothills Trail
- Benton MacKaye Trail east of Beech Gap
- Appalachian Trail in Nantahala National Forest
Call the US Forest Service office for more information on road and trail closures: 828-257-4200