The Unites States Forest Service (USFS) has reported three new wildfires in the Nantahala National Forest of Western North Carolina.
The report comes in the midst of a lengthy drought and unseasonably warm weather and just a few days after two other wildfires were reported, one in the Dicks Creek area near the town of Sylva and another in the Granfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest not far from the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.
According the the Washington Post, there were 11 active, large wildfires burning throughout the Southeast, an area known for its temperate, rain forest-like climate, as of Wednesday morning.
One fire, burning in Fannin, Co., Georgia, has spread to more than 3,000 acres.
One of the newly reported fires in Western North Carolina is currently estimated at around 100 acres. It is burning about 15 miles west of Franklin in an area known as Wine Springs and has forced the closure of a section of the Bartram Trail that runs from Wine Springs Bald to Nantahala Lake.
Another fire, which is being called The Knob fire, has engulfed more than 250 acres and forced the closure of the Appalachian Trail from Rock Gap to Winding Stairs Gap. That fire is said to be burning about 9 miles southwest of Franklin near the entrance of Standing Indian Campground. According to the USFS, no structures are currently threatened as crews work to improve containment lines.
The third Nantahala National Forest fire is the smallest at roughly fifteen acres. It is burning three miles west of Highlands near Cliffside Lake Recreation Area.
Cooler temperatures this weekend are not expected to bring relief from the high fire danger in and around Western North Carolina.
The USFS has banned backcountry fires in Pisgah and Nantahala in North Carolina; Chattahoochee and Oconee in Georgia; Cherokee in Tennessee; and Bankhead and Conecuh in Alabama—a large explosion brought about when a Colonial Pipeline operation failed on Halloween night has spawned more fires in that state.
The National Park Service has imposed a park-wide ban in Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well, a restriction that hasn’t been instated since 2007.