Western North Carolina Wildfire Update – Wednesday Nov 30, 2016

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Information provided by the North Carolina Forest Service. 

CURRENT SITUATION FOR WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

nc-fire-summary-nov-30-2016

The wildfires that have spanned across the South were, and continue to be, fought by federal, state, local, tribal and volunteer agencies. The incident management teams and firefighters that have been working in North Carolina are beginning to ramp down fire operations and reduce their numbers, in part because of wet weather and reduced fire activity. While it can appear that teams and firefighters are leaving en masse at a time when concern over drought and fire conditions is not over, they only leave when there is another smaller group available to take over, or the local landowners feel able to take back and manage the fire themselves. On several large fires, containment has been reached, and the team has returned oversight to the land management agency.

Many fire personnel and resources are reassigned to more active fires that need the help while others are sent home. In the last day, many people and much equipment was moved very quickly to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to aid in that effort.

AIR QUALITY INFORMATION

Forecast Valid: Thursday 12/01/16
Today’s Air Quality Conditions: Fine particulate concentrations in the Code Green range are being observed at all monitors across the state. For a display of the most recent air quality conditions throughout the remainder of this afternoon, please visit the US EPA’s AIRNOW web site.
General Forecast Discussion: Clearing skies, dry and cooler conditions are expected statewide tomorrow in the wake of a passing frontal boundary. Winds will be steady out of the west, and these trajectories will bring smoke from any ongoing wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park east into the Asheville forecast region. Localized Code Yellow conditions are currently forecast for the Asheville forecast region out of an abundance of caution. Code Green conditions are expected over the rest of the state tomorrow.
Outlook: Partly cloudy, dry and cool weather will continue into the weekend, as high pressure builds over the Deep South. Good air quality will remain in place over most of the state through Saturday, with localized Code Yellow conditions remaining possible in the Asheville forecast region.
TODAY’S UPDATES ON ACTIVE FIRES OR FIRE COMPLEXES
Only those fires being actively managed and staffed are included in the Evening Summary.
HORTON FIRE (NCFS – BLOWING ROCK, WATAUGA COUNTY)
Firefighters continued to monitor and patrol the perimeter, extinguishing hotspots. Although the rain significantly cooled surface heat, only one-fourth inch of rain was received overnight. This is not enough moisture to suppress deep-seated pockets of heat that holdout in stump holes.

Fire managers are developing a rehabilitation plan with North Carolina State Forest Service for the Horton Fire area. This plan involves, to the extent possible, returning the landscape that has been modified during firefighting operations to its original state.
Acreage: 1,450 – Containment: 90% – Personnel: 50 – Start Date: November 21

CLEAR CREEK FIRE (NCFS / USFS – MARION, MCDOWELL COUNTY).
Firefighters worked on rehabilitation projects in the accessible areas of the fire. If the next round of rain this afternoon requires the firefighters to leave the fire area, they will spend the afternoon working on projects at the North Carolina Mountain Training Center. Many resources were assigned to the Sevier County fires in Gatlinburg, TN.
Acreage: 3,163 – Containment: 95% – Personnel: 231 – Start Date: November 20

Boteler Fire (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, Clay County)
Today’s rain, assisted firefighting efforts on this fire. Crews are making good progress mopping up fireline and repairing areas affected by fire-suppression activity.
Acreage: 9,036- Containment: 85% – Personnel: 164 – Start Date: October 25

MAPLE SPRINGS FIRE (USFS-LAKE SANTEELAH AREA, GRAHAM COUNTY)
The Southern Area Blue Team on the Boteler Fire is assigned management of this fire.
No change
Acreage: 7,788 – Containment: 78% – Personnel: 17 – Start Date: November 4

NANTAHALA BRANCH FIRES (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, Clay County)
The Southern Area Blue Team is assigned management of the Nantahala Branch Fires. Under this branch, the fires being patrolled/monitored are: Tellico Fire, Old Roughy Fire, Buck Creek Fire, Falls Fire, Grape Cove Fire, Moses Creek Fire, Jones Gap Fire, Jarrett Knob Fire, Wine Spring Fire, Mulberry Fire, Moss Knob Fire, May Branch Fire, Boardtree Fire, Charley Creek Fire, Nick Fire, Ridge Gap Fire, Ferebee Fire, Cliffside Fire, Whitewater Fire, Howard Gap Fire, Knob Fire, Muskrat Fire, Bullpen Fire, Jones Creek Fire, Cathey Gap Fire, Dick’s Creek Fire.

CAMP BRANCH FIRE (USFS – OTTO, MACON COUNTY)

The Southern Area Blue Team on the Boteler Fire is assigned management of this fire.
Forest Road 69 (Wayah Bald Tower Road) remains closed due to the proximity of the Camp Branch Fire and associated firefighting activity. Drivers should use caution; smoke may limit visibility, and debris may roll onto the roadway.
Acreage: 3,210 – Containment: 75% – Personnel: 285 – Start Date: November 23

ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE (USFS – SOUTHERN NANTAHALA WILDERNESS AREA, NORTH GEORGIA AND CLAY AND MACON COUNTIES IN NC)
The following roads remain closed: Coleman River Road, Patterson Gap Road and Abe Gap Road.

The Southern Area Gold Type 2 team assumed management of the fire at 7:00 A.M. NOTE: Acreage is based on the 11/27/16 infrared aircraft reconnaissance flight. Acreage will be updated when weather conditions are favorable. Approximately 12,962 acres are in Georgia and 11,763 acres are in North Carolina (3,860 in Clay County and 7,903 in Macon County).
Acreage: 24,725- Containment: 55% – Personnel: 679 – Start Date: November 9

CHESTNUT KNOB FIRE (NCFS-SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK, BURKE COUNTY)
Fire crews evaluated trail and road conditions for access to fire areas. A North Carolina State Park assessment team continues to assess damages from the fire to trails and other areas of the park. This will be the last Chestnut Knob Fire update. For new information, go to our Facebook page ChestnutKnobFire. Last update provide on the Evening Summary.
Acreage: 6,435 – Containment: 90% – Personnel: 136 – Start Date: November 6

PINNACLE MOUNTAIN FIRE (SCFS / USFS – PICKENS AND TRANSYLVANIA COUNTIES)
Wet conditions and an afternoon storm prevented crews from working the firelines. If conditions allow, firefighters may be able to return to work on the lines Thursday. Incident command officials are hopeful they will be able to receive an overnight infrared flight.

Trail Closures: Table Rock State Park reopened yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 29). All facilities and roads will be open with the exception of the Carrick Creek Trail, the Table Rock Trail, the Pinnacle Mountain Trail and the Foothills trail portion that is located on Table Rock. The trail to the Carrick Creek Falls overlook will be open, as will the Pinnacle Lake trail. For more information, please contact the park directly at 864-878-9813 or [email protected]
Acreage: 10,560 – Containment: 62% – Personnel: 137 – Start Date: November 9

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