McDowell County Wildfire Operations Ramping Down Through Weekend

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Fire Managers report that burning operations have been successfully completed and a black line has been established around the entire fire, according to the Forest Service. Future growth is anticipated to be minimal and fire officials do not expect the fire to grow much beyond its present 1,760-acre footprint. Fire containment has increased to 77%. Over 200 personnel are assigned to the fire and some are being released to head home or reassigned to other fires in the Southeastern U.S.

Today’s operations include work along the fire’s edge extinguishing hot spots that could escape across containment lines. As these areas of heat cool, fire managers will be able to increase the containment. The structure protection group will continue to monitor homes near the fire’s edge.

While most of the fire perimeter burning has been completed, dense smoke may still be produced as pockets of unburned fuel combust in the fire’s interior. These fires are not suppressed as they pose a very low risk of escaping containment. The continued smoke presence has resulted in a Code Yellow, Moderate Air Quality Day, issued for all western North Carolina. Avoiding outdoor activities, keeping doors and windows closed and operating air conditioning systems are some common practices for those impacted by low-level smoke. More information can be found at www.ncdenr.org/aq/ForecastCenter.

Trail closures will continue in the fire area, including a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail that was used as part of the eastern containment line. As fire suppression activity along the trail subsides, firefighters and land managers will evaluate the trail for public safety and natural resource damage. Trails will remain closed until evaluation and repairs are completed. National Forest trail and forest road closures can be found on the National Forests in North Carolina website at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc.

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