UPDATE 4:22pm Friday February 17 – The investigation into at least three fires along highway 421 was completed earlier this week and a cause determined. Stuart Scott, Watauga County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, tells WataugaOnline.com that several metal automobile parts and catalytic converter pieces were found near the origin of the fires. “I am calling this the cause of the fires at this time” Scott said.
Scott also noted that past fires in the same location were ignited by hot catalytic converter pieces that were ejected from a vehicle as it powered up the highway. “It is common along that stretch of 421 to have hot engine parts thrown onto the shoulders and ignite grasses and leaves.” he said.
UPDATE 7:30pm Monday February 13 – Stuart Scott, Watauga County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service tells WataugaOnline.com that the investigation is continuing this week. He expects the investigation to be completed later this week. WataugaOnline.com will continue to update as that new information becomes available.
UPDATE 8:29pm – Stuart Scott, Watauga County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service tells WataugaOnline.com that the investigation is continuing and more information will be available on Monday from his department. WataugaOnline.com will continue to update as that new information becomes available.
UPDATE 2:06pm – Some fire crews remain on the scene of the fires in Deep Gap. Taylor Marsh, Watauga County Fire Marshal, tells WataugaOnline.com that the fire is 100% contained and the investigation is in progress to determine the cause. Marsh says the North Carolina Forest Service is handling the investigation at this point. More updates coming as information becomes available.
Videos by Pablo Rangel
11:14am Friday February 10 – Multiple fire departments are battling 3 separate fires just off highway 421 in Deep Gap near the Parkway.
The fires are in the Orchard Road and Ivy Ridge areas.
Fire crews from Deep Gap, Stewart Simmons, Boone, Fleetwood and Champion (Wilkes County) fire departments, along with NC Forest Service and the Watauga County Emergency Management Office have been dispatched. The story is developing and more information will be passed along as it is received.
Photos by Pablo Rangel