Fires in NC Mountains and GSMNP

Multiple Fires In NC Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains

Nearby fires in NC mountains and in the Great Smoky Mountains have closed many trails and other areas. Several trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been temporarily closed due to fires and smoke. One trail is Chimney Tops Trail because of a wildfire burning near the trail summit. Other trails that have been closed due to wildfires until further notice are Sugarland Mountain Trail, Huskey Gap Trail, and Road Prong Trail. The multiple 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.

There are multiple fires in the nearby NC mountains that have burned over 40,000 acres. Many  NC State Parks have been closed due to these out of control fires. Over 40 states have sent 1600 firefighters with more on the way to fight the fires. There are 19 significant fires and 8 that are major with minimal containment. Several  counties have called for evacuations of residents due to hazardous conditions. Counties effected by evacuations include Rutherford, 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.

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Fighting Wildfire in NC Mountains (photo by wncn)

Smoke from all the fires can be seen drifting as far away as North Georgia, East Tennessee, the NC piedmont area, Greensboro, 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). Most of the fires are located south of Asheville. The Asheville area and Biltmore area do not have any fires close to their location.

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, almost 100 fire engines, bulldozers and other heavy equipment. There have been no injuries or deaths so far due to the fires. There have been some structure fires but no homes. Firefighters have worked extremely hard to save numerous homes. 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 rain is in the forecast.

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.

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Smoke from fires in nc mountains (photo from abc11.com)

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

Knoxville live web cams by WATE (several views)

Nantahala area by Natahala Outdoor Center

Joyce Kilmer area live web cam view

Lake Lure live webcam

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.

 

 

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