The Boteler fire was discovered burning on the Tusquitee Ranger District of the National Forests of North Carolina 15 miles east of Murphy, North Carolina on October 25. It is located in a roadless area on the Nantahala National Forest west of Chunky Gal Mountain near Hayesville, Clay County. The District immediately responded, but due to steep, rugged terrain and extremely dry conditions, it was unsafe for firefighters to attack the fire directly at the fire's edge. Although large helicopters dropped water on the fire and slowed its progression, it continued to grow.
Yesterday firefighters continued to build firelines away from the fire's edge, with the priority on areas south of the fire where structures were threatened. Crews continued to assess Mill, Shooting, Vineyard, and Thompson Creek and Muskrat Branch areas for structure protection. Last night the fire approached homes on East Vineyard Road so fire crews burned vegetation around them to protect them from the oncoming wildfire. The operation was successful in protecting the structures.
The Knob Fire started on November 2 about nine miles southwest of Franklin near the entrance of Standing Indian Campground. Crews worked on and improved containment lines yesterday and successfully burned vegetation between the fire and the highway last night. No structures are currently threatened and the campground is open, but note access in "closures" below. The Southern Area Red Team assumed management of the Knob Fire at 7:00 am today.
The Boteler Fire is 619 acres and 10 percent contained. 149 people are working on the fire. The Knob Fire is 175 acres and 28 percent contained. 31 people are working on the fire.
Crews will continue assessing and installing structure protection south of the Boteler Fire, with the priority in the Mill Creek area and working east. They will secure and mopup last night's burns around the homes on East Vineyard Road. On the Knob fire, firefighters will complete and improve line construction out to Highway 64, which may include burning out vegetation between the fire and road.
Visibility along Highway 64 may be limited at times due to smoke. With more people and equipment arriving to fight fires in the area, motorists should exercise caution when driving. The area is experiencing historically dry conditions promoting growth of fire starts. Homeowners can prevent property damage from fires by keeping flammable materials such as woodpiles or dead leaves away from your home or propane tanks.
Due to Knob Fire activity, the Appalachian Trail is closed from Rock Gap to Winding Stairs Gap. Old 64 Murphy Road closed from its west junction of US 64 to Forest Service Road 67 leading to Standing Indian Campground. Rock Gap may be accessed from the south by going through Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory. For more closure information, see http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nfsnc/alerts-notices/?aid=37590.
The Nantahala National Forest has the following fire restrictions in place:
Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire is not allowed outside of developed campgrounds where a fee is paid.
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