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Wildfire Update: More than 40,000 acres on Fire in Western North Carolina

Last week, we reported on the growing severity of wildfires blazing in Western North Carolina and surrounding states like South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Unfortunately, those fire continued to grow over the weekend and have now reached nearly 40,000 acres in Western North Carolina alone.

Many of these fires are not only believed to be the result of human activity, but are reportedly being set intentionally by arsonists.

While it’s extremely troubling to see so many acres of cherished land burn, it’s also hazardous to the health of residents. Many if the states with fires burning have warned citizens of unhealthy air quality.

What follows is a real time list of fires burning throughout these five states, the amount of acres to which these blazes have reportedly spread, suspected causes, and key information about burn bans and public land closures.

Keep in mind that the dry conditions that have facilitated this historic weather event are persisting, and as a result these numbers are constantly changing and often growing. Check back for updates.

Western North Carolina Wildfires

Tellico Fire

Acres: 13,676

Containment Level: 39 percent contained 

Party Rock Fire

Acres: 3,457

Containment Level: 15 percent contained

Lake Lure/Chimney Rock Area. Photographer last week by Michelle Schwartz.

Maple Springs Fire

Acres: 7,179

Containment Level:15 percent contained

Boteler Fire

Acres: 8,695

Containment:37 percent contained

South Mountain State Park Fire

Acres: 2,850

Containment Level: 15 percent contained 

Ferebee Fire

Acres: 3,175

Containment Level: 3,175 

Additional Wildfire Info 

Immediate Forecast: No rain is in sight for Western North Carolina’s immediate future. Fire caution and safety is of the utmost importance right now.

Public Lands Closed: The Appalachian Trail from Rock Gap to the Nantahala River, Chimney Rock State Park, Rumbling Bald Climbing Access Area, South Mountains State Park, portions of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness.

According to press release issued by the USFS the following trails are closed: Wesser Creek, Chunky Gal from Glade Gap to Tusquitee Gap, Whitewater Falls, Foothills from NC Hwy 281 to the Bad Creek access (detour maps are posted at trail junctions), and the Appalachian Trail from the Nantahala River at Wesser south to Rock Gap Trailhead on FR 67.

Suspected Causes: According to USFS, the majority of the wildfires in WNC are the direct result of humans, and the state has even pointed to arson as a major factor in many of these dangerous and destructive wildfires.

Burn Bans: All 1 million acres of the Pisgah and the Nantahala National Forest are under a strict no burn ban.

North Georgia Wildfires

Rock Mountain Fire (Rabun County)

Acres: 4,000

Containment: 10 percent contained

Rough Ridge Fire (Fannin County)

Acres:  nearly 20,000

Containment: 20 percent contained

Additional Wildfire Info 

Suspected Causes: Many of these fires are being labeled as human caused, and, like the fires in North Carolina, arson has been established as a contributing factor in some of the North Georgia wildfires.

South Carolina Wildfires

Pinnacle Mountain Fire

Acres: 2,312

Containment: 25 percent contained


Additional Wildfire Info 

Public Land Closures: Table Rock State Park along with portions of the Foothills Trail.

Burn Bans: The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has issued a burn ban on the 33,000-acre Jocassee Gorges area in northern Pickens and Oconee counties, and the South Carolina Forestry Commission has expanded its burning ban from five Upstate counties to all 19 Piedmont counties.

Tennessee Wildfires

Flippers Bend Fire

Acres: 1000 

Containment: 90 percent contained

Poe Road Fire

Acres: 550 acres

Containment: 40 percent contained

Mowbray Fire

Acres: 750 acres

Containment: 50 percent contained

Additional Wildfire Info 

Public Land Closures: Citico Creek Wilderness in Cherokee National Forest

Virginia Wildfires

Raven Rocks Fire (Jefferson National Forest)

Acres: 2,500 acres

Containment: 60 percent contained

McAfee Knob Fire

A small brush fire in a hard to reach area near McAfee Knob Fire has been contained.

Additional Wildfire Info 

Burn Bans: There is a temporary restriction of open fires on the Clinch Ranger District of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Suspected Causes: Dry conditions and possible arson in areas. 

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