Current Status: The Southern Area Gold Team and the North Carolina Forest Service are now in unified command, managing the Bald Knob and Wolf Creek Fires. Today is the first day of full management of the incidents under this command. Both the Bald Knob Fire (confirmed lightning start July 17) and Wolf Creek Fire (likely lightning start July 31) started on the Pisgah National Forest. The cause of the fire was likely lightning, although the ignition source remains unconfirmed.
Planned Events: The team will continue to use a “confine and contain” strategy to manage both fires for multiple objectives. Limited access, rough terrain and heavy fuel loading make direct access unviable for firefighters on the Bald Knob Fire. Firefighter crews will work to construct and enforce fire lines using dozers and hand crews where they have access.
Fire Weather: The Wolf Creek Fire received almost an inch of rain on August 10th, while the Bald Knob received scattered, trace amounts. Isolated, scattered showers and increased winds will persist over the fires this afternoon and evening. Starting Wednesday, a drying trend will be in place, resulting in increased activity for the fires.
Air Quality: Air quality will remain good over both fires Tuesday through Wednesday. The Bald Knob Fire has produced little smoke in the last few days, while the Wolf Creek Fire continues to produce smoke from smoldering leaves and ground fuels. The town of Old Fort will continue to see light smoke. As dry weather is forecast later this week, an increase in smoke production is anticipated.
Bald Knob Fire
Wolf Creek Fire
Closures & Restrictions: A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trailbetween the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place until July 31st: http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_5_0361.html
Information: Fire officials will continue to update the fire information boards at the Woodlawn Roadside Park area off of State Highway 221, Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department, Grandfather Ranger District office in Nebo and Black Bear Access area on Lake James. (Information is also available on the sites listed at the top of this update.)
Cooperating agencies include the North Carolina Forest Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, McDowell County Emergency Management, and The Nature Conservancy.