Photo by: Tim Reaves
Wildfire on Cold Mountain shuts down Shining Rock Wilderness trail system
UPDATE FROM THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE – Pisgah Forest, NC – November 24, 2019
Despite two inches of rainfall throughout the area on Saturday, the Cold Mountain fire continues to burn.
Firefighters will remain on site to monitor conditions and take necessary action to protect structures throughout nearby communities. Drying trends are forecasted for the next several days. Lingering smoke is possible in the area.
The wildfire is burning within the Shining Rock Wilderness which remains closed to all recreational uses including use of all 53 miles of trails in the area.
Agencies involved in the response include USDA Forest Service, NC Forest Service, Haywood County Emergency Management, Cruso Fire Department, and National Park Service.
A wildfire burning on the summit of Cold Mountain, made famous by the novel and movie that share its name, has temporarily shut down the entire Shining Rock Wilderness area in Western North Carolina, including all of the wilderness trails. The brush fire had burned 106 acres by midday Thursday as the Cruso Fire Department, North Carolina Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the scene.
Bruce McDonald, public information officer with the North Carolina National Forests told the Citizen-Times that the summit of Cold Mountain is one of the highest on the east coast and is extremely remote and rugged. There are no roads leading to the summit of the mountain which makes accessing the area by vehicle difficult.
McDonald said that there are very few “developed values” at risk. Responding firefighters are not actively fighting the fire but are monitoring the scene and weighing fire suppression techniques. The fact that Saturday’s forecast calls for rain is also being taken into consideration.
Firefighters are hard at work putting in containment lines on the north side of the fire to keep it from impacting private property and keeping the fire contained to the wilderness, the Citizen-Times reports.
Around noon on Thursday, National Park Service officials announced that, while smoke is visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the fire in not impacting the road at this time. Smoke from the fire is also visible from downtown Asheville.
As the fire burns, officials are asking visitors to stay away from the area and for those that fly drones to fly them elsewhere. Western North Carolina is now in the thick of wildfire season when the dry weather and downed leaves increase the risk for wildfires.