McDowell County Fire Increases To Over 1400 Acres Due To Burnout Operations

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A combination of fire growth and burnout operations increased the fire size to 1,405 acres. The acreage number was also improved by air mapping of the fire footprint. Containment also rose to 15 percent. Yesterday’s burnout operations on the northern and western sides of the fire were successful. Today’s operations include patrolling and extinguishing remaining hotspots near established containment lines on the western, northern and eastern sides of the fire. Additional assessment and planning to contain the fire to the south is ongoing. Structure protection will continue in the Ashford and North Cove communities.

Lighter winds and cooler nighttime temperatures prevailing into the weekend, may cause ground level smoke to occur in communities near the fire. A Code Orange Air Quality Action Day has been issued by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality for Burke and McDowell Counties. An Action Day means particulate concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards. Area residents and visitors with respiratory sensitive conditions should take appropriate actions. Avoiding outdoor activities, keeping doors and windows closed and operating air conditioning systems are some common practices to avoid smoke inhalation.

A community meeting will be held tonight at the Woodlawn Baptist Church in Marion. The meeting will start at 7 p.m.; fire officials will review progress on suppression operations and respond to questions about the fire.

The wildfire has caused some trail closures, including a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail being used to contain the fire. All forest trail and forest road closures can be found on the National Forests in North Carolina website at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc.

Additional personnel and equipment resources have been brought in to fight the fire. The number of personnel assigned to the fire has increased to 180. The Incident Command Post is operating out of the McDowell Technical Community College Small Business Center, known as the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center.

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