Wildfire burns in NC mountains, more than doubles in 24 hours

(From: US Forest Service Crew 101 from Prineville, Oregon)

NEBO, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – Firefighters conducted backburns on Monday in a bid to control a wildfire burning in North Carolina’s scenic Linville Gorge, but the fire still more than doubled in size in 24 hours.

By the end of the day Monday, it was reported to be 1,365 acres and 20 percent contained. At the end of the day Sunday, the fire had reached 585 acres and was 10 percent contained.

“A weather system is predicted to move into the area tomorrow afternoon, with potential for increased winds,” the U.S. Forest Service said.

The backburns were described as “low-intensity,” and were intended to reduce the amount of fuel available to the fire and buffer containment lines, according to federal forestry officials.

The fire, known as the White Creek Fire, is burning near Nebo in McDowell County. It’s near Shortoff Mountain at the south end of Linville Gorge in Pisgah National Forest.

The southern end of the gorge, as well as nearby U.S. Forest Service land to the east, remain closed to the public as a result of the fire.

Forestry officials say about 140 firefighters were working on the blaze Sunday.

No injuries have been reported.

Firefighters have now completed fire lines to the north and south of the fire. Burnout operations will continue Tuesday afternoon on the northern end of the fire near Linville Gorge.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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