Multiple Fires In NC Mountains
There are several fires in the NC mountains that continue to burn out of control. These fires have burned over 44,000 acres now. Many areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as several NC State Parks have been closed due to these out of control fires. Over 2000 firefighters are fighting these fires with more on the way for backup and relief. There are 10 fires burning with minimal containment. Several counties have called for evacuations of residents. Counties effected by evacuations include Henderson, Buncombe, Graham, Swain, Clay and Macon. Shelters have been opened to provide a safe environment for those affected. Many counties are also handing out special mask for people to wear due to the poor air quality from the smoke produced by the fires. Ashe from the wildfires is a problem for many towns nearby. Smoke from the wildfires is drifting hundreds of miles away to cities such as Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte in North Carolina. Even Atlanta, Georgia is having hazing conditions from the smoke from the fires to the north. Many areas are under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert.
Smoke from all the fires can be seen drifting as far away as North Georgia, East Tennessee, the NC piedmont area, Asheville and Charlotte. One of the major fires is in the Lake Lure area and another major fire is at Party Rock. Other areas with fires include Tellico Fire, the Boteler Fire, the Maple Springs Fire, the Nantahala National Forest, Dick’s Creek (near Sylva), Knob (near Franklin), a small area near Cherokee, Whitewater (Upper Whitewater Falls), and a small area at Cliffside ( near Highlands).
FEMA will assist with helping pay for fighting the fires. Twenty five counties have been declared a State of Emergency due to the large number of fires in the NC mountains. Some fires are being investigated due to the possibility of arson.
Equipment being used to fight the fires include helicopters, over 100 fire engines, bulldozers and other heavy equipment. There have been no injuries or deaths so far due to the fires. The fires have been difficult to control due to the dry conditions in the western areas of the state. The humidity is also very low and no significant rain is in the forecast for the next week.
Many NC Sate Parks have been closed due to fire, smoke or personnel being pulled to other areas to help with the fires in other areas. The following parks in North Carolina are closed until further noted: New River State Park, Elk Knob, Mount Mitchell, Lake James and Gorges, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, South Mountains State Park, and Chimney Rock State Park. Due to the extreme dry conditions and increased risk of fire all NC state parks have banned campfires and open cooking fires for now.
Several trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been temporarily closed. One is Chimney Tops Trail because of a wildfire burning near the trail summit. Other trails that have been closed until further notice are Sugarland Mountain Trail, Huskey Gap Trail, and Road Prong Trail. The wildfires are resulting in a large amount of smoke that is settling in the valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains. There is a temporary ban on campfires in the park’s backcountry. The fire ban only applies to campers in the backcountry sites and shelters.
Live Web Cam Links that show smoky conditions from fires in NC mountains
Here are some webcam links that show locations in the NC mountains that are affected by the fires.
Chimney Rock State Park live web cam showing smoky conditions
Nantahala area by Nantahala Outdoor Center
GSMNP Purchase Knob live webcam
US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map
Here is a link to the US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map showing the locations of all the different wildfires in NC mountains, East TN and the Great Smoky Mountains, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia.
Watch this youtube video on the Lake Lure Wildfire…