With recent rainfall and high humidity the flames of the 320 acre Blue Gravel Fire have subsided and containment is now at 70 percent. The wildfire is located in a remote area of Burke County east of Shortoff Mountain just outside Linville Gorge Wilderness area on the Pisgah National Forest. More rainfall and high humidity is forecasted over the next several days. Firefighters continue to monitor and patrol the containment lines as large downed logs and stumps are still smoking.
For public safety the southern Linville Gorge Wilderness area from Chimney Gap south and east of the Linville River remains temporarily closed. In addition, the following roads and trails remain closed within the fire area:
- Back Irish Creek Road (Forest Road 118), also known as the Blue Gravel Road
- Shortoff Trail (TR 235)
- Mountains to Sea Trail (TR 440) from the Pinnacles trailhead to the Table Rock Picnic Area.
Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and local volunteer fire departments are assigned to the fire. Burke County and North Carolina Emergency Management are supporting fire operations. Minimizing risk for firefighters, local communities, and the public are primary objectives. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.