Thursday, November 14, 2013

Table Rock Fire in Linville Gorge Grows to 300 Acres

Fire crews made considerable progress on line construction for the Table Rock Fire yesterday, even though fire activity did increase. The fire is located within the Linville Gorge Wilderness on the Grandfather Ranger District in the Pisgah National Forest, within the perimeter of the Table Rock and Chimney area. This fire was first detected on Tuesday, November 12th in the Table Rock Picnic Area. Size of the wildfire increased to 300 acres yesterday as a result of westerly winds that pushed the fire to the east. Fire containment is estimated at 5 percent.

US Forest Service engine crews and the Oak Hill Volunteer Fire Department were able to reduce fuels around the Outward Bound facility, by removing vegetation and burning out around the structures. There are no other homes or structures threatened at this time.

Fire fighter numbers increased to 100 personnel overnight, as crews came in from surrounding states. No injuries have been reported. Additional resources will continue to arrive today as the NC Type 3 Team initiates operational tactics to slow the spread of the fire. Those tactics involve the use of fire to fight fire. A “burn out” operation will be used to expand the effectiveness of the containment lines. Crews will burn from the line with expectation that the set fire will carry to the active wildfire areas. These burned out areas will reduce the spread by removing fuels that can carry a fire.

Today the public will probably notice an increase in the amount of smoke coming from the area. The majority of the smoke is from the wildfire itself; however, some of the smoke is a result of the burn out operations. The amount of smoke will be heaviest in the mid-afternoon and should dissipate by evening. Most of the smoke is expected to move northeast of Table Rock, although some smoke will settle into Linville Gorge tonight as winds decrease and humidity increases.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire investigators are asking the public to contact the Grandfather Ranger District at 828-652-2144 with any information about persons in the Table Rock picnic area on Monday, Veteran’s Day.

Several trails in the Table Rock Mountain and Shortoff Mountain area are closed to public access. The Table Rock Picnic Area is also closed. Visitors looking to access the Linville Gorge should check the National Forests in North Carolina website for the latest closure information.

Hiking in the Smokies

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