NEBO, N.C., March 19, 2017- The White Creek Fire burning near Shortoff Mountain at the south end of Linville Gorge on the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest is now 10 percent contained at an estimated 585 acres.
Firefighters continued improving firelines on the south end of the fire area to protect private property and are working on establishing firelines on the north end. Firefighters are also preparing for a potential burn window on Monday that may allow for a controlled low-intensity backburn to reduce fuels and buffer firelines.
140 firefighters are on scene today. The U.S. Forest Service is leading fire response efforts, with support from the North Carolina Forest Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Burke and McDowell County Emergency Management, and North Carolina Emergency Management. No structures are currently at risk.
Consideration for firefighter and public safety is the highest priority. The public should be aware of the potential for smoke in the area and heed all area and trail closures.
An area closure is in effect for all U.S. Forest Service lands east of State Road 1238 (Old NC 105 / Kistler Memorial Highway), south of Conley Cove Trail (Tr #229), south of Table Rock Picnic Area, west of Back Irish Creek Forest Service Road #118 (Blue Gravel Road) and Roses Creek Forest Service Road #99, north of Highway 126. In addition, the following trails are closed: Shortoff Trail (Tr #235), Rock Jock Trail (Tr #247), Pinch-In Trail (Tr #228), Linville Gorge Trail (Tr #231) south of Conley Cove Trail (Tr #229), Mountains to Sea Trail (Tr #440) from State Road 1238 at Pinnacles to the Table Rock Picnic Area, and any social trails existing within the closure area. Public entry is prohibited within this area.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Remember: Flying a drone near a wildfire is breaking the law. Doing so can result in a significant fine and/or a mandatory court appearance. So, be smart and just don't fly your drone anywhere near a wildfire.