Western NC Wildfire Summary Tuesday November 15, 2016

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Information provided by North Carolina  Forest Service

CURRENT SITUATION
Acreage of all large fires increased by 1,658 acres to over 40,000 acres. Cloudy conditions yesterday allowed firefighters to make additional progress on containment. The low pressure system that brought cloudy and favorable conditions moved out of the area this morning, and a high pressure system returned to the region that will bring clearing skies and lower relative humidity. Ground-level smoke will remain a concern over the next few days. Winds along ridge tops are expected to increase tomorrow into Thursday and may increase fire behavior.
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AIR QUALITY INFORMATION
A code red air quality alert remains in effect today for Asheville Valleys (under 4,000ft in elevation). A code red alert for AQI (Air Quality Index) means everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Limit your time outdoors today. Keep windows and doors closed in your home and run your HVAC.
BURNING RESTRICTIONS
A total fire ban is in effect for all lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests; however, commercially available heating equipment, portable lanterns, or stoves that use gas or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed. More information is at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd524246.
A North Carolina Forest Service ban on all open burning in all 25 Western NC counties. More information is at ncforestservice.gov/news_pubs/newsdesk_2016.htm# 1107161.
TODAYS UPDATES ON MAJOR AREA FIRES
MAPLE SPRINGS AND OLD ROUGHY FIRES (USFS-LAKE SANTEELAH AREA, GRAHAM COUNTY)
Firefighters are mopping up and securing containment lines on the Maple Springs and Old Roughy fires. On Monday, aircraft were able to drop over 70,000 gallons of water on the western and southern flanks of the Maple Springs fire in the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness. Those two areas remain the most active portions of the fire, which is creeping west into the wilderness area toward the Tennessee border.
Maple Springs: Acreage: 7,515 – Containment: 15% – Personnel: 355 – Start Date: November 4
Old Roughy: Acreage: 657 – Containment: 80% – Start Date: November 8
Tellico Fire (USFS-NANTAHALA GORGE AREA, Swain and Macon Counties)
Crews accomplished a lot yesterday, holding, mopping up, and patrolling containment lines around the fire’s perimeter. In the last remaining places where the fire was moving downslope to firelines-on the south side near Shields Creek Road, on the southwest side near Queens Creek, and on the northwest side by Johnson Cove-the fire has reached the containment lines and is no longer progressing.
Acreage: 13,679 – Containment: 68% – Personnel: 464 – Start Date: November 3
Boteler Fire (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, Clay County)
Yesterday, firefighters had another productive day, completing fireline on the northeast corner of the fire and mopping up remaining hot spots along Hwy 64. Today, firefighters will continue to improve containment lines and search for heat sources, such as smoldering stumps. The blasting crew plans to remove more hazard trees along the fire line between Passmore Spur and Nelson Ridge Road.
Acreage: 8,967 – Containment: 43% – Personnel: 366 – Start Date: October 25
PARTY ROCK FIRE (NCFS-LAKE LURE AREA, RUTHERFORD, BUNCOMBE, AND HENDERSON COUNTIES)
The weather has not been conducive for large fire growth the past couple days, but those conditions will change later this week. Fire managers are now planning for this fire growth potential by establishing contingency lines should primary containment lines not hold. In addition, they are working with the structure protection group to ensure fire department engines are strategically placed within communities in the fire’s projected path to protect homes.
Acreage: 3,744 – Containment: 15% – Personnel: 334 – Start Date: November 5
CHESTNUT KNOB FIRE (NCFS-SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK, BURKE COUNTY)
20 bucket drops were made with a helicopter and 10 drops were made with fixed-wing aircraft yesterday which helped with containment efforts. Today, crews will continue to establish and improve containment lines. Smokey conditions are expected to persist in the area over the next few days, with the heaviest ground-level smoke in the morning hours.
Acreage: 3,900 – Containment: 20% – Personnel: 118 – Start Date: November 6
ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE (NORTHWEST OF CLAYTON, GA)
6,487 acre fire is 10% contained and is moving north towards the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. More info at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5100/
EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES – NO CHANGES TODAY
Please visit Inciweb websites for the most up to date information:
 
HENDERSON COUNTY Mandatory Evacuations: communities located along Highway 64/74-A from Henderson County Line to Highway 9, Highway 9 to Shumont Road and all Henderson County homes located on Shumont Road.
Evacuation Shelter: Bat Cave Baptist Church located at 5095 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville, NC
 
SWAIN COUNTY Evacuations Lifted: Only residents are allowed on the following roads: Big Dog, Gassaway, Licklog, Long Branch, Luther Bingham, Mason, Morgan, Northern Partridge, Silver Mine, East Silver Ridge, Wesser Creek, Wilkes.
 
MACON COUNTY Evacuations Lifted: Only residents are allowed on Deweese and Partridge Creek Roads.
 
CLAY COUNTY Evacuations Lifted.
 
Nantahala National Forest CLOSURES
Major closures on the Nantahala include:
  •  Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness
  •  Wesser Creek Trail
  •  Chunky Gal Trail from Glade Gap to Tusquitee Gap
  •  Whitewater Falls Trail and portions of Foothills Trail
  •  Benton MacKaye Trail east of Beech Gap
  •  Appalachian Trail from the Nantahala River at Wesser south to Rock Gap Trailhead on Forest Road 67
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