The November 12, 2013 Forest Closure Order for sections of the Linville Gorge will be lifted at midnight on Sunday night, November 24, 2013. The gorge was closed to the public due to the Table Rock wildfire. Rifle deer season begins Monday morning; the gorge will be open for hunter access. The National Forests in North Carolina made the announcement today as firefighters wrap up work on the Table Rock wildfire.
The Forest encourages hunters to remember that conditions have changed in this area as a result of the wildfire. “There are many hazards out there that may not be immediately evident,” stated District Ranger Nick Larson. Some of those hazards include burned out stump holes, fire weakened trees and snags, and areas of smoldering fuels or active fire. Changing weather conditions like wind and ice, can increase the safety risk to hunters by causing trees and snags to fall or unburned areas to ignite. Ranger Larson also reminds hunters to get to know the areas they are hunting and be prepared for these new hazards. In the unlikely event that hunters encounter smoldering fuels or active flames, they should leave the area and find another location to hunt.
Recreationists to the gorge should be aware of hunters in the area for the next few weeks. Likewise, hunters are advised to be on the lookout for other recreationists using the area. It is a good safety practice for all visitors who venture into the forest to wear bright orange during hunting season. Don’t forget to include something orange on your pets.
For more information on safety tips for hunters and non-hunters when visiting the National Forest, visit the website http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/home/?cid=STELPRDB5416422.