NEBO, NC, January 30, 2017 – The Sugar Cove Fire near Marion is now approximately 180 acres with 10 percent containment.
The fire is burning northeast of NC Highway 80 and backing downslope in the Singecat Branch and Burgins Creek drainage.
Recent weather has allowed fire fighters to establish containment lines on the eastern section of the fire. Two helicopters are dropping water to keep the fire in check on the narrow ridges with heavy fuels.
Both U.S. Forest Service and NC Forest Service resources are working under a unified command Incident Management Team with approximately 75 personnel including local volunteer fire departments from McDowell County and McDowell County Emergency Management. Additional resources have been ordered and are expected to be on scene tomorrow to support suppression efforts.
NC Highway 80 is temporarily closed to all but local traffic between Buck Creek Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Little Buck Road near Lake Tahoma. No other road or trail closures are currently in effect but the public is asked to avoid the area for firefighter and public safety.
The fire began on private land on Saturday, January 28, at approximately 1 pm and resulted from a brush burn pile that escaped and burned onto the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest. No structures are currently threatened and structure protection is ongoing.
Nearby residents and travelers will see and smell smoke, which will likely settle in the valleys in and near Marion overnight.
The public is encouraged to use extreme caution with outdoor fires. Western North Carolina continues to be abnormally dry despite recent rain and snow. Don't burn on windy days.
Take time now to prepare your home against wildfires. Move woodpiles and other flammable debris away your home and clear the leaves from your gutters and rooftops. More tips on protecting your property can be found at www.ncfirewise.org.