Total large fire acreage is at just over 42,000 acres, an increase of 1,668 acres from yesterday. Containment has increased on all fires, particularly those on Nantahala National Forest. Fire crews around the region are working on containment lines ahead of the predicted wind event that will begin this evening. The next system moving into our area will produce a much higher fire danger from increased wind, dry fuels, and a lack of rain. The low humidity and strong winds will remain a problem through Thursdaywith temperatures and winds speeds falling Friday behind the cold front. Any rain fall associated with the cold front will be minimal to insignificant. An elevated fire risk environment will likely be in place Friday and through the weekend.
AIR QUALITY INFORMATION
Air quality improved in the mountains today. A code orange air quality alert is in effect today for Asheville Valleys (under 4,000ft in elevation). Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
A code red air quality alert is in effect today for Charlotte and areas in the NC foothills. A code red alert for AQI (Air Quality Index) means everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Limit your time outdoors today. Keep windows and doors closed in your home and run your HVAC.
A total fire ban is in effect for all lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests; however, commercially available heating equipment, portable lanterns, or stoves that use gas or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed. More information is at
A North Carolina Forest Service ban on all open burning in all 25 Western NC counties. More information is at ncforestservice.gov/news_pubs/newsdesk_2016.htm# 1107161.
TODAYS UPDATES ON MAJOR AREA FIRES
MAPLE SPRINGS AND OLD ROUGHY FIRES (USFS-LAKE SANTEELAH AREA, GRAHAM COUNTY)
Firefighters made good progress on containment yesterday. Today's plan is to use helicopters and water-scooping aircraft to soak the south and western perimeters of the fire where the most heat remains. Crews will be reinforcing existing containment lines around the fire while scouting for potential contingency lines outside the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness.
Maple Springs: Acreage: 7,705 - Containment: 42% - Personnel: 346 - Start Date: November 4
Old Roughy: Acreage: 657 - Containment: 90% - Start Date: November 8
TELLICO FIRES (USFS-NANTAHALA GORGE AREA, SWAIN AND MACON COUNTIES)
Containment is steadily increasing each day, but many miles of fireline need to be held, strengthened, and mopped up. Reburn remains a concern in areas where pockets of heat remain inside the perimeter-mainly on the east side near Loudermilk Creek and on the west side north and west of Lowing Bald. Although US Highway 19/74 is open, firefighters will continue to monitor it for fire, rolling rocks, and falling trees that could impact the roadway and public safety.
Acreage: 13,679 - Containment: 74% - Personnel: 464 - Start Date: November 3
BOTELER FIRE (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, CLAY COUNTY)
Crews will hold and patrol containment lines on the southwest and northeast corners of the fire. Dozer operators have nearly completed a secondary fireline between Chunky Gal Trail and Buck Creek Road and will work in that area again today. The blasting crew will remove more hazard trees along Nelson Ridge Road.
Acreage: 8,967 - Containment: 51% - Personnel: 448 - Start Date: October 25
PARTY ROCK FIRE (NCFS-LAKE LURE AREA, RUTHERFORD, BUNCOMBE, AND HENDERSON COUNTIES)
Firefighters are continuing to protect structures and construct containment lines around the fire. Fire managers are preparing for strong winds later this week that could increase the size of the fire. A Community Meeting was held today to provide an overview of the current fire status, planned fire suppression operations, and anticipated fire behavior with the predicted strong winds later this week.
Acreage: 4,480 - Containment: 19% - Personnel: 323 - Start Date: November 5
CHESTNUT KNOB FIRE (NCFS-SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK, BURKE COUNTY)
Yesterday, aircraft dropped 12,000+ gallons of fire retardant to assist fire crews on the ground with containment efforts. Today, fire crews will continue burn out operations along Rich Mountain Rd. while improving line from Rich Mountain Rd. to upper CCC Trail. Crews will focus on structure protection and triage.
Acreage: 4,600 - Containment: 30% - Personnel: 205 - Start Date: November 6
ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE (NORTHWEST OF CLAYTON, GA)
7,999 acre fire is 10% contained and is moving north towards the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. More info at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5100/
EVACUATIONS AND CLOSURES
Please visit Inciweb websites for the most up to date information:
BURKE COUNTY Mandatory Evacuation:
Residents along Bob Knob Road.
Evacuation Shelter: Collett Street Recreation Center, 300 Collett St. Morganton
HENDERSON COUNTY Mandatory Evacuations:
Residents in the following locations:
· Rumbling Bald Resort (except Apple Valley community)
· Chimney Rock from County Line to Boys Camp Road (Boys Camp Road now open to residents only)
· Bat Cave from Intersection of 74/64 to Shumont Road off NC 9 North
· Shumont Mountain in Buncombe County
· Standing Gap and Roaring Rock Mountain
Evacuation Shelter: Grace Lutheran Church, 1245 6th Avenue West in Hendersonville
NANTAHALA NATIONAL FOREST CLOSURES
NEW AREA CLOSURES:
Nantahala Ranger District:
· Southern Nantahala Wilderness (North Carolina)
· Nantahala National Forest lands east of Eagle Fork community to Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary
· Nantahala National Forest lands south of US 64 and Allison Creek Road (SR 1448), to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary (including the Standing Indian and Hurricane Creek areas)
· Nantahala National Forest lands west of the Nantahala Mountains ridge from Mooney Gap to Wallace Gap, and west to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary (including the Appalachian Trail, side trails, and shelter sites)
Tusquittee Ranger District:
· Nantahala National Forest lands north of US64 and east of State Road 1330 to Nantahala Ranger District boundary
· Nantahala National Forest lands south and east of State Road 1307 from State Road 1330 to US64 and the Nantahala Ranger District Boundary
Other major closures on the Nantahala include:
· Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness
· Wesser Creek Trail
· Chunky Gal Trail
· Whitewater Falls Trail and portions of Foothills Trail
· Benton MacKaye Trail east of Beech Gap
· Appalachian Trail from the Nantahala River at Wesser south to Rock Gap Trailhead on Forest Road 67
Call the US Forest Service office for more information on road and trail closures: 828-257-4200
Feel free to share any post from the WKRK website that you feel is beneficial to your community. We encourage input from local law enforcement, government officials, emergency management officials, schools and other public service organizations. To send us information, use the form on our Contact Us page.