Fire personnel started their day with the opportunity to attend a worship service led by Marion Police Department Chaplain Bob Ritter. The reduced work force then began another work day on the Dobson Knob Fire, which has greatly decreased in active flame and smoke. The current size remains at 1,760 acres and containment has increased to 85 percent. Suppression operations are rapidly ramping down as personnel on the line finish up rehab work and back-haul equipment and supplies. There were about 200 people assigned to the fire as of this morning’s briefing, but many are going through the demobilization process, finalizing paperwork and packing up to travel home or be reassigned to other fires. There are numerous wildfires ongoing in Florida and Georgia, and some fires in western North Carolina.
Smoke from the Dobson Knob Fire has greatly diminished and the air quality has improved for the most of the WNC mountain region except for counties near the fire that remain at Code Yellow. Today’s air quality forecast can be found at www.ncdenr.org/aq/ForecastCenter.
There is an increased chance of thunderstorms today. Any precipitation would be welcome, but firefighters are aware that such storms also come with erratic, gusty winds and lightning that can lead to new ignitions.
Due to the fire, trail closures remain in place on the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest. The April 11th closure order includes a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail along the edge of the fire. As fire activity along the trail subsides, firefighters will evaluate the trail for public safety and resource damage. Forest trails will remain closed for the coming days until evaluation and repairs are completed. Forest trail and forest road closures can be found on the National Forests in North Carolina website at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc.