Friday, March 25, 2016

North Peak Wildfire Grows to 500 Acres - Now 50% Contained

Firefighters are working to contain the North Peak Fire burning in McDowell County. With dry conditions and low humidity, the fire grew Thursday afternoon and is now estimated at 500 acres and 50 percent contained.

The North Peak Fire was reported Wednesday morning, March 23 on North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Game Lands. The fire is also burning on private and Pisgah National Forest Lands on the Grandfather Ranger District. The fire is located in rugged terrain north of Lake James Road, east of Hankins Road, and south of Bald Knob, just north of Lake James and 5 miles northeast of Marion, N.C.

Low humidity and high winds increased fire activity yesterday afternoon ahead of approaching storms. Higher humidity overnight provided good conditions for crews to make progress on containment. However, no rainfall was recorded on the fire.

76 firefighters are currently assigned to the incident. Firefighters are working to improve containment lines today. Burn out operations will take place this afternoon to secure the containment lines. Firefighters are also providing point protection for structures and equipment in private rock quarries within the fire boundary. No homes are threatened. A helicopter will be assisting today.

The area adjacent to where the fire is burning has a history of prescribed fire treatments and wildfires. These areas provide natural fire breaks and allow for utilization of existing containment lines.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and N.C. Forest Service (NCFS) are managing the fire jointly with resources from both agencies and support from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, McDowell County Emergency Management Services, Hankins-North Fork Volunteer Fire Department, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Minimizing risk for firefighters, local communities, and the public are primary goals. Smoke may be present today near Lake James and Marion. Members of the public traveling in the area should use caution when driving. Officials are asking the public to avoid the area for their own safety and the safety of emergency response personnel on scene.

The Over Mountain Victory Trail in the Bear Creek area is closed to provide for public and firefighter safety.

An information center to provide public and media information on the wildfire is stationed at the Black Bear Boat Launch on Lake James. The cause of the wildfire remains under investigation.


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