Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wildfire in Linville Gorge expands to 100 acres - under investigation

Approximately 40 U.S. Forest Service firefighters and others are working to contain the wildfire in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area of the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. The wildfire grew from 40 acres to 100 acres overnight.

The fire, known as the “Table Rock Fire,” is about one-quarter mile southwest of Table Rock Mountain in the east-central part of the Gorge. Firefighters are cleaning up existing roads, trails and existing firelines from previous fires to contain the wildfire. Zero percent of the fire is contained at this time. The fire burned actively through the night and is expected to grow in size over the next couple days.

Firefighters continue to protect the Outward Bound base camp area, which is vacant. No other homes or structures are threatened at this time. No injuries are reported. Trails near Table Rock Mountain are closed as is the Table Rock picnic area.

A Type 3 Incident Command Team will be in place by 6 p.m. today. The National Forests in North Carolina Forest Supervisor has approved the use of mechanized equipment, including leaf blowers and chainsaws, to suppress the wildfire in the wilderness area. The Forest Service will use bulldozers outside the wilderness area. Two helicopters will also be used on the wildfire. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) should be in place over the fire today to protect the safety of aviation assets assigned to the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Persons with information about individuals who may have been in this area last weekend are asked to call U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Jason Crisp at 828-652-2144.

The U.S. Forest Service is working with the N.C. Forest Service, Burke County Emergency Management, and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to suppress the fire.

Hiking in the Smokies

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