Firefighters respond to a new wildfire near Lake Appalachia Dam in Cherokee County Murphy, NC

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Firefighters responded to a new wildfire start on Sunday evening near Lake Appalachia Dam in Cherokee County. The Hiwassee River Fire was reported in a steep area near the lake, on both US Forest Service and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lands. As of this morning, the Hiwassee River Fire is estimated at 80 acres.

The fire is burning on US Forest Service property on the Nantahala National Forest Tusquitee Ranger District and on TVA lands surrounding Lake Appalachia. Firefighters worked late into the night Sunday to construct containment lines in steep terrain.

Today, firefighters will conduct burn out operations. Burn out operations help to contain the fire by consuming the unburned fuel between the active fire and the control lines. Approximately 14 firefighters from the US Forest Service are on scene today.

A helicopter will be used for reconnaissance of the fire area and other support as needed. While the cause of the fire is under investigation, it is suspected to be arson. If you see something, say something. If you know of someone deliberately setting fires, call 911. We are in spring wildfire season, and fire danger is expected to remain high across Western North Carolina this week.

Due to these extended hazardous fire conditions, the North Carolina Forest Service issued a ban on all open burning for 32 Western North Carolina counties. The burning ban went into effect on April 3 and will remain in effect until further notice.

For more information, visit https://ncforestservice.gov/news_pubs/newsdesk_2020.htm. The US Forest Service urges the public to practice caution as they visit the national forests. Visitors are asked to follow guidance under the burn ban and consider postponing their camping trips.

Photo from Getty Images

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