Western NC wildfire grows to 550 acres, 10 percent contained


MCDOWELL CO., N.C. (WSPA) – A wildfire burning in McDowell County has grown to 550 acres. Crews say the Dobson Knob fire is 10 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

McDowell County Emergency Management says the fire began on private land off Old Linville Road. It has spread to Pisgah National Forest.

The fire is burning in rough, steep terrain which is making the effort difficult for fire crews.

Firefighters have been able to keep the fire from burning nearby homes or businesses.

Smoke will continue to affect the northern sections of McDowell County, but no evacuations have been ordered.

The U.S. Forest Service has issued an emergency closure for the Mountains to Sea Trail (Trail #440) from the North Fork of the Catawba River to Old NC 105 (SR 1238 / Kistler Memorial Highway) and Dobson Knob Road (FSRD 106).

The cause of the fire is unknown. Officials say the area has a long history of wildfire, including the Bald Knob Fire in 2015.

Dense smoke is likely in the area of the fire. Drivers are urged to be cautious.

State officials have issued an air advisory for the area.

“Folks in northern McDowell, northern Burke, southern Mitchell and southern Avery counties will be the areas most impacted today. If you are sensitive to air pollution and smell smoke, you should limit outdoor exertion today,” Mike Abraczinskas with the N.C. Division of Air Quality said in a news release.

Children and people with respiratory problems, including chronic lung ailments, are urged to decrease physical exertion and outdoor activity.

Click here for more information on forecasts and health effects from the Division of Air Quality.

From TL Lewis

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