Wolf Creek Fire Update
Rainfall over the weekend helped firefighters continue to make progress on the Wolf Creek wildfire burning on the Pisgah National Forest in McDowell County. The fire is now at 305 acres and is 60% contained.
The Wolf Creek fire is located northwest of Old Fort, NC in steep terrain between Heartbreak Ridge and Jarrett Creek. Firefighters are continuing mop up operations to put out remaining hot-spots near fire lines and beginning work on fire line repair.
Members of the public may continue to see smoke in the Old Fort area and along Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 70. Travelers along I-40 between Ridgecrest and Marion, NC should use caution as smoke may settle along the highway in the evenings.
As a reminder, Jarret Creek Road (FS4030) remains closed to public use. Forest Service officials are asking the public to avoid this area for their own safety and the safety of emergency response personnel on scene. Heartbreak Ridge Trail (208) and Star Gap Trail (209) also remain closed to public use until further notice.
Minimizing risk for firefighters, local communities, and the public are primary objectives. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and N.C. Forest Service (NCFS) are managing the fire jointly with resources from both agencies and support from McDowell County Emergency Management Services. 27 firefighters are assigned to the incident. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.
Bald Knob Fire Update
High humidity over the weekend limited growth of the Bald Knob fire, burning on Pisgah National Forest land in McDowell County north of Marion, NC. The fire now estimated at 1000 acres.
The Bald Knob fire was reported on July 17th in a remote area near Dobson Knob, north of Lake James. Rainfall on Friday and high humidity over the weekend aided firefighting efforts but did not extinguish the flames. There is a chance of rain in the area today and tomorrow, however, with dry weather predicted to return to the area later this week officials expect the fire to continue to grow in size.
Air quality improved over the weekend and will likely remain good to moderate through Tuesday until dry weather returns. Communities near the fire, especially around Marion, Nebo, Lake James and Glen Alpine, NC, may experience some smoke in the mornings and evenings.
Due to the duration and complexity of this fire, management of the fire is being transferred from the North Carolina Type 3 Incident Management Team to the Southern Area Type 2 Gold Incident Management Team. In addition, officials are setting up a unified command center with the North Carolina State Forest Service.
Incident management teams are working with the US Forest Service using a “confine and contain” strategy to manage the Bald Knob fire for multiple objectives. Officials are managing risk for firefighter safety due to limited access in the rough terrain around Bald Knob and high fuel loading in the area. Firefighters are actively constructing fire lines on the west side, as well as scouting for additional containment lines. 107 firefighters, 5 bulldozers, 5 engines, and 3 helicopters are assigned to the fires.
Firefighters continue to update the fire information boards at the Woodlawn Roadside Park area off of State Highway 221, Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department, and Black Bear Access area on Lake James. More information about the fire can be found online at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4457/.
A temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106) remains in place.
The cause of the fire was likely lightning though the ignition source remains unconfirmed. Cooperating agencies include the North Carolina Forest Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, McDowell County Emergency Management, and The Nature Conservancy.