A wildfire was reported  around 4 p.m. Thursday by hikers in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area of the Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina.

Firefighters are responding to the blaze, which is burning on the southern end of the Linville Gorge near Shortoff Mountain, and the United States Forest Service (USFS) has closed the Mountains to Sea Trail from Old Highway 105 at Pinnacle to the Table Rock Picnic Area along with the Shortoff Trail (Trail #235).

USFS is currently investigating the source of the incident, which they are calling the White Creek Fire, but no burn ban is currently in effect for the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

According to a press release issued by the USFS at noon today, the fire has spread to 75 acres with a containment percentage of zero.

At present, there are 100 firefighters on the scene. USFS is leading the response, with support from the North Carolina Forest Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Burke County Emergency Management, and North Carolina Emergency Management.

Thanks to significant and widespread drought, coupled at times with deliberate arson, the mountains of Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians as a whole have seen more than their fair share of wildfires during the fall and winter of 2016-17.

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