Firefighters have responded to at least 13 fire starts on the Nantahala National Forest in the past 13 days. Six of those fires started in the past two days. Fire activity, dispersed throughout the forest, is taxing fire resources. Two 20-person crews arrived this week from Kentucky and New Mexico to help battle the blazes.
Cooler temperatures have not reduced fire danger because moisture levels in vegetation are continuing to decrease. Drier vegetation increases fire risk. Fire sizes range from 5 acres to several hundred acres.
The most active fires at this time include:
Tellico Fire - located northwest of Franklin in the Nantahala Mountains. Crews continue to construct containment lines today. Helicopters may be used in fire suppression efforts. Fire size is currently estimated at 50 acres. The Appalachian Trail from the Nantahala River to Burningtown Gap is closed. The closure also includes Wesser Creek Trail.
Moss Knob Fire - located southwest of Cullowhee. Dozer line was completed around the fire just after dark last night. Fire size is estimated at 5 acres. Firelines are being reinforced today. The Moss Knob Shooting Range is closed due to firefighters working in the area.
May Branch Fire- located west of Nantahala Lake near Nantahala and Andrews. Fire size is estimated at 175 acres. Containment lines are being reinforced today. No structures threatened.
Knob Fire - located southwest of Franklin in the Nantahala Mountains. Fire size is about 250 acres. Crews conducted burnout operations yesterday and last night to reinforce fire lines. Additional burnout may be needed today. No structures are currently threatened. Standing Indian Campground is open. The Appalachian Trail is closed from Rock Gap to Winding Stairs Gap. Access to the campground is via West Old Murphy Road.
Wine Spring Fire - located about 15 miles West of Franklin on the mountain above Dirty John Shooting Range. Acreage is currently estimated at 94 acres. Firefighters continue to patrol and monitor fire lines. Due to fire activity, the Bartram Trail is closed between Wine Springs Bald and Nantahala Lake.
Cliffside Fire - located about three miles west of Highlands near the Cliffside Lake Recreation Area. Fire size is estimated at 99 acres. Firefighters are improving containment lines today. Smoke may be visible from burnout operations. No structures are reported to be in the immediate area. The Cliffside Day Use Area closed for the season on November 1.
Bartram Trail, from Hickory Knoll Road to State Highway 106, will remain closed through this weekend due to mop up operations and potential hazard identifications from the Jones Gap Fire.
HIGH Fire Danger continues!!
NO Campfires allowed except in developed campgrounds with fees.
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