Despite the amount of moisture that we will see with the current incoming weather patterns, FIRE DANGER REMAINS HIGH. The current drought conditions are long term, and a series of wet weather storms are needed to alleviate the extremely dry conditions. Several areas are still under burn bans. (Click here for Burn Ban information.) With the heavy layers of dry leaves, drought conditions and anticipated warm weather after these storms, several areas will remain prone to fire activity and people are asked to remain cautious and aware of the fire danger and bans in their areas.
While the much-needed moisture will assist firefighting efforts, it will not be enough to completely extinguish all the fires burning in western North Carolina. In the days, and possibly weeks ahead, the local area will still see smokes within the fire containment lines. Agencies will continue to monitor these areas and respond if and as needed.
AIR QUALITY INFORMATION
Forecast Valid: Tuesday - November 29, 2016
Air Quality Conditions: Hourly values are decreasing at monitors across western North Carolina this afternoon, but overall values in the Code Orange range with localized Code Red conditions will remain possible downwind of ongoing fires today. Code Green to Code Yellow conditions were otherwise observed over the rest of the state this afternoon. For a display of the most recent air quality conditions throughout the remainder of this afternoon, please visit the US EPA's AIRNOW website (http://www.airnow.gov).
General Forecast Discussion: Cloudy skies with breezy conditions are expected tonight into tomorrow in advance of an incoming frontal boundary. Much-needed rainfall will arrive to the mountains and foothills tomorrow in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms, with scattered showers possible over the Piedmont later in the day. Areas of rain in the mountains and foothills should significantly curtail smoke-related air quality concerns across parts of western North Carolina. Code Yellow conditions may be possible over Macon, McDowell Counties and southern portions of the Asheville forecast region tomorrow, with Code Green conditions expected elsewhere.
Outlook: Cloudy and unsettled weather is expected through the middle of the week, with another round of showers and thunderstorms possible statewide Wednesday and Wednesday night. Dry and cool conditions will build in for Thursday. Code Green and localized Code Yellow conditions are currently expected statewide through Thursday.
A cold front will reach our region Tuesday and stall. A series of low pressure systems will ride up and along the cold front through Thursday, before shifting east. Multiple rounds of rain, some heavy at times, can be expected. The heaviest rain should focus from parts of the western North Carolina foothills and mountains, northeast Georgia and the upstate mountains of South Carolina. Rainfall in these areas should average between 2 and 4 inches, with isolated 5 inch amounts in the most favored upslope areas.
Elsewhere 1-2 inches of rain should be the rule. Additionally, the possibility of thunderstorms may work into the picture from Tuesday into Wednesday night, potentially enhancing rainfall rates. To read the detailed weather brief, visit the National Weather Service: Greenville/Spartenburg link at http://www.weather.gov/media/gsp/YouTube/brief.pdf
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 patrolled the fire area looking for heat. Local fire personnel will patrol the fire perimeter through the night with a thermal imager to identify any hot spots. Fire managers will wait until the forecasted rains arrive to reassess the containment percentage. The Incident Command Post will relocate Tuesday to the Blowing Rock Fire Department, and the Fire information line 828-201-2885 will be active through 5:00 P.M. Friday, December 2.
Acreage: 1,450 - Containment: 65% - Personnel: 105 - Start Date: November 21
CLEAR CREEK FIRE (NCFS / USFS - MARION, MCDOWELL COUNTY).
Firefighters worked on the southwest and western areas of the fire to improve or finish constructing indirect fireline and began erosion prevention efforts. Along the northwestern portion of the fire, including near Locust Cove, crews patrolled and mopped up. A handcrew built direct fireline at the head of the fire putting in fireline from the Mackey trail east towards the Clear Creek headwaters.
Acreage: 3,163 - Containment: 83% - Personnel: 495 - Start Date: November 20
BOTELER FIRE (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, CLAY COUNTY)
Firefighters are repairing firelines, helispots and roads damaged by fire-suppression activities. Suppression repair work is approximately 40% complete. Leaves continue to drop at the lower elevations, increasing the likelihood of interior reburns.
For current road closures in Macon County CLICK HERE.
Acreage: 9,036- Containment: 85% - Personnel: 185 - 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.
Approximately 75% of suppression repairs have been completed. Today, crews repaired areas along Forest Road 455 southwest to Naked Ground, and hazard trees along FR 62 were removed.
Six areas of isolated interior heat were detected during a recent infrared flight over the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness Area. The hot spots do not pose a threat to containment due to their location near natural barriers. As reconnaissance and infrared flights report that heat is dissipating, the containment percentage will gradually increase.
Acreage: 7,788 - Containment: 78% - Personnel: 105 - 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.
Firefighters held the east side of the fire along Locust Tree Branch Road. On the west side, they held the line from FR 69, across Rocky Bald Ridge to FR 379B, and north to Licklog Gap. They will also continue protecting structures in Bear Cove and on FR 69. Tonight, firefighters will work until midnight, and that will conclude the night shift. It will be reinstated if changing conditions warrant.
Acreage: 2,146 - Containment: 35% - Personnel: 262 - Start Date: November 23
PARTY ROCK FIRE (NCFS-LAKE LURE AREA, RUTHERFORD, BUNCOMBE, AND HENDERSON COUNTIES)
Fire crews worked to extinguish remaining hot spots and removed excess firefighting equipment from the firelines. Many of the crews are starting to be released to go back home as the fire situation has improved.
Acreage: 7,145 - Containment: 90% - Personnel: 192 - Start Date: November 5
ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE (USFS - SOUTHERN NANTAHALA WILDERNESS AREA, NORTH GEORGIA AND CLAY AND MACON COUNTIES IN NC)
Fire crews patrolled and mopped up on the southern and western fire perimeter. Containment lines were strengthened with burnout operations throughout today and will continue until relative humidity recovers tonight. Structure protection will remain in place. CLICK HERE to see the latest road closures, pre-evacuation and evacuation updates.
Acreage: 24,725- Containment: 45% - Personnel: 651 - Start Date: November 9
Containment lines were strengthened with burnout operations throughout today and will continue until relative humidity recovers tonight. Structure protection will remain in place.
CHESTNUT KNOB FIRE (NCFS-SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK, BURKE COUNTY)
Firefighters worked on hot spots and continued mop up and holding the lines in all divisions as well as structure protection. The Florida Forest Service, Type 3 team will assume management of the fire Wednesday, and the incident command post will relocate to the South Mountain Visitor Center. At 7:00 P.M. tonight, there will no longer be a Chestnut Knob Fire information phone line. See our Chestnut Knob Fire Facebookpage for the latest information.
Acreage: 6,435 - Containment: 80% - Personnel: 138 - Start Date: November 6
PINNACLE MOUNTAIN FIRE (SCFS / USFS - PICKENS AND TRANSYLVANIA COUNTIES)
Firefighters strengthened firebreaks and finished burnout operations just north of the Table Rock Reservoir toward Buzzard Mountain Road. Crews also patrolled firelines and cooled hot spots throughout the fire perimeter.
Two options have been set up to receive donations for the Firefighting Efforts in Pickens County:
Acreage: 10,097 - Containment: 50% - Personnel: 281 - Start Date: November 9
Media Advisory: For all information about the Pinnacle Mountain Fire and the ongoing response in South Carolina, all media should contact the Pinnacle Mountain Joint Information Center at (864) 898-2437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER PERTINENT LINKS
Nantahala National Forest Closures
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests (relative to the ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE)
Appalachian Trail (A.T.)
The latest information is available on the Joint Information Center blog athttp://ncjic.blogspot.com/ for the following topics:
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