The Bald Knob Fire, burning on Forest Service land in McDowell County, grew to approximately 40 acres since Monday. Rainy weather and high humidity has slowed the fire’s progression.
The incident commander ordered an additional fire crew from out-of-state to help support the “confine and contain” strategy currently being employed. The Columbine Wildfire Module is a specialized unit experienced in managing fires for multiple objectives and will assist local firefighters in evaluating and implementing the best plan to safely and effectively manage the fire as it continues to move naturally across the terrain. No structures are threatened and no injuries have occurred in managing the incident. 17 personnel are assigned to the fire.
Firefighters will be placing information boards at the Woodlawn picnic area off of State Highway 221 that members of the public can view to learn more about the fire and the benefits of natural ignition wildfire in fire-adapted ecosystems like Bald Knob.
A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.
The Bald Knob Fire, which was reported on July 17, is burning adjacent to multiple prescribed burn areas that have recently been treated as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project which will limit the fire’s ability to spread rapidly. However, without significant, steady rain, the fire could potentially burn for several more days. Members of the public near the communities of Woodlawn, Sevier and those travelling along State Highway 221 can expect to see and smell smoke, with heaviest smoke likely to occur in the afternoons when temperatures are high and humidity low. The cause of the fire was likely lightening though the ignition source remains unconfirmed. Cooperating agencies include the North Carolina Forest Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and The Nature Conservancy.