Despite extremely dry conditions and warm temperatures, firefighters made good progress on the fire yesterday. They continued working hot spots and strengthened firelines in steep terrain. Due to forecasted increasing winds Friday evening, an area of unburned fuels well within the containment lines was allowed to burn itself out so it did not promote fire growth this weekend. This area, off East Vineyard Road, will be monitored today. A blasting crew completed removing 98 hazard trees on the Boteler Fire.
A public meeting held last night in Hayesville had about 70 people from the community and was viewed by more than 1800 viewers on Facebook.
The Rock Mountain Fire near Tate City, Georgia was active yesterday, but no structures have been lost. For more information on the Rock Mountain Fire, please visit Inciweb
Boteler Fire (Clay County):
For Friday, firefighters will continue to secure fire lines and mop up areas near structures off Cedar Cliff and Jackie Cove Roads. In the afternoon, warm temperatures, low relative humidity and increasing winds could increase fire activity and the potential for re-burn within the fire perimeter.
Size: 8,967 acres Containment: 57 percent Start Date: October 25
Tellico Fire (Swain and Macon Counties)
IR (infrared) flights have proven to be an invaluable tool in the effort to contain and suppress the Tellico Fire. Each night aircraft with sophisticated sensing equipment fly over the fire to map locations of residual heat or “hot spots.” The following day firefighters, armed with this information, locate and extinguish hot spots near the perimeter that might pose a threat to containment. The most current infrared flight data indicated hot spots along dozer line in the Fairview area. Crews will work to strengthen containment lines and extinguish any hot spots within 100 feet of containment lines in this area.
Fire crews on the remaining perimeter of the Tellico Fire will continue with mop up operations, clear containment lines of accumulated leaf fall, and patrol the perimeter. Special attention will be paid to patrolling around homes within the fire area. Structure protection lines will be monitored and strengthened as needed.
Size: 13,874 acres Containment: 81 percent Start Date: November 3
Cathy Gap Fire (Jackson County)
The Cathy Gap Fire started around midnight on November 17, 2016. Initial attack firefighters and equipment from the Franklin staging area were dispatched. By late Thursday afternoon, utilizing hand crews, a bull dozer and burning operations, they had constructed containment lines around the fire. Friday, crews on the Cathy Gap Fire will continue to strengthen these containment lines, do mop up and patrol the perimeter.
Size: 123 acres Containment: 0% Start Date: November 17
Dicks Creek Fire
Smoke was observed coming from the interior of the Dicks Creek Fire on Thursday. In response, crews will be staffing the fire today. They will patrol the perimeter to insure that containment lines are holding, and will clean out and strengthen lines as needed. They will monitor for reburning where leaf fall has created a continuous fuel bed in the interior of the fire, extinguish any hot spots along the perimeter, and control any spot fires that could result from wind-borne embers crossing firelines.
Size: 728 acres Containment: 98% Start Date: October 23
Weather and Fire Behavior
Temperatures on Friday are forecasted to be in the low to mid-70s with relative humidity in theteens. Sustained south – southwesterly winds at 5 to 10 miles per hour, with gusts to 16 are predicted. A cold front will be moving into the area Friday night, and winds are projected to change from the south – southwest to west – southwest and eventually make a full 180-degree directional change to north – northwest. This front should produce strong gusty winds through Friday night. Sustained wind speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour with gusts to 25 are expected.
The higher temperatures, lower relative humidity, and windy conditions, combined with extremely dry fuel conditions in the area are the ingredients for increased fire behavior. Firefighters will be especially vigilant Friday in light of these factors. Crews and equipment have been held in reserve to respond as initial attack resources should any of the fires begin to reburn, or if additional spot fires or starts are reported.
Fires in Patrol Status
The following fires are being patrolled daily to ensure containment lines are holding: Muskrat Fire (103 ac.), Bull Pen Fire (4 ac.), Perry Fire (5 ac.), Buck Creek Fire (8 ac.), Falls Fire (NA), Grape Cove Fire (35 ac.), Moses Creek Fire (30 ac.), Jones Gap Fire (115 ac.), Jarrett Knob Fire (NA), Wine Spring Fire (95 ac.), Mulberry Fire (NA), Moss Knob Fire (7 ac.), May Branch Fire (175 ac.), Boardtree Fire (0.5 ac.), Charley Creek Fire (3 ac.), Ridge Gap (2 ac.), Cliffside Fire (101 ac.), Whitewater Fire (23 ac.), Howard Gap (0.2 ac.), Knob (1,130 ac.), and Dick’s Creek (728 ac.)
Road and Trail Closure Status
- Only residents are allowed on the following roads: Big Dog, Gassaway, Licklog, Long Branch, Luther Bingham, Mason, Morgan, Northern Partridge, Silver Mine, East Silver Ridge, Wesser Creek, Wilkes.
- Forest Service Road 712, Board Tree Road and Jones Gap Road near the Muskrat Fire have been reopened.
- Only residents are allowed on the following roads: Deweese and Partridge Creek.
Nantahala National Forest
- An area closure order (No. 08-11-09-17-02) for the Tusquitee Ranger District is in effect for lands, trails, and roads in the area surrounding the Boteler Fire. To view a map and complete list of closed roads and trails, go to tinyurl.com/zoq4lm8.
- An area closure order (No. 08-11-00-17-03) for the Tusquitee and Nantahala Rangers Districts is in effect for lands, trails, and roads southeast of the Boteler Fire. The closed area extends south from Highway 64 to the Georgia border and includes the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. The Appalachian Trail is closed from the Nantahala Outdoor Center south to the Georgia border. To view a map and complete list of closed roads and trails, go to tinyurl.com/jmxv7dv.
- These trails are also closed: Wesser Creek, Whitewater Falls, Foothills from NC Hwy 281 to the Bad Creek access, Bartram Trail from Wine Spring Bald west to Nantahala Lake, and Bartram Trail from the trailhead at NC 106 north and west to NC 1643 (Hickory Knoll Road).
- Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests total fire ban: www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd524246
- NC Forest Service open-burning ban: ncforestservice.gov/news_pubs/newsdesk_2016.htm# 1107161