Thursday, April 21, 2016

Several Wildfires Reported in the Southern Appalachians

Multiple large wildfires are currently burning along the Tennessee and North Carolina state line, and are impacting communities in Western North Carolina.

The Cherokee National Forest, North Carolina Forest Service, and Tennessee Division of Forestry, along with multiple cooperating agencies, are working to control the State Line Fire burning near Hot Springs, NC. The fire is located in Cocke County, TN and Madison County, NC, approximately 5 miles west of Hot Springs and 15 miles east of Newport, TN. Highway 25/70 was closed temporarily but has now reopened.

The Cherokee National Forest and Tennessee Division of Forestry are also working to control the Railroad Grade Fire in the Roan Mountain Area. The fire is located in Carter County, TN at White Rocks Mountain approximately 6 miles southeast of Hampton, TN, and 3 miles northwest of Roan Mountain. To protect public safety, a 7.2 mile portion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) has been temporarily detoured to Forest Road 293 at Bitter End off Buck Mountain Road. This fire has already burned 1450 acres, and is 60% contained.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs – Eastern Cherokee Agency is also responding to multiple fires near Cherokee, NC.

The U.S. Forest Service is also working to contain a wildfire burning in the Buck Knob area of the Nantahala National Forest, southeast of Franklin, NC.

The Buck Knob Fire was reported yesterday afternoon. It is currently estimated at 100 acres. Dry conditions and high winds are impacting firefighting efforts. The fire is burning in Macon County off Old NC 64. A portion of the Appalachian Trail has been closed from Wallace Gap to Winding Stair Gap to protect public safety. Old NC 64 is also closed from Wallace Gap to Poplar Cove Road.

Additionally, the Rocky Mount Fire 2016 in Shenandoah National Park has now burned more than 7900 acres, and has also shut-down a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

Smoke impacts from wildfires have been reported in cities across Western North Carolina. The public can expect to continue to see smoke in the region through the weekend.

Fire danger remains high across Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. The public is discouraged from outdoor burning until conditions moderate.


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