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Crews from all over U.S. join local firefighters to fight five active Nantahala fires

Additional resources have arrived to assist in suppressing ongoing fires as well as any new starts. Crews from California, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida and Oregon have joined forces with local firefighters. (Photo of the Jones Gap Fire by the U.S. Forest Service)

FRANKLIN, N.C. -- Elevated fire activity in the Nantahala National Forest prompted fire management officials to transition from district management to a Type 3 organization. The transition, effective Sunday, enables more effective management of several fires simultaneously under the umbrella of one incident commander.

Additional resources have arrived to assist in suppressing ongoing fires as well as any new starts. Crews from California, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida and Oregon have joined forces with local firefighters.

High fire danger continues Sunday. No campfires are allowed except in developed campgrounds where fees are charged.

Here's the latest on fires still burning on Sunday:

The Boteler Peak Fire started October 25 on Boteler Peak east of Murphy. The U.S. Forest Service says it's an active fire with acreage increased from 2 to an estimated 150 acres. Suppression efforts are underway.

The Jones Gap Fire started on October 29 near Bartram Trail, located northwest of Highlands. Helicopters were used to reduce fire intensity, allowing hand crews and a dozer to construct containment lines around the fire.

Crews are challenged by a continuous cliff line that runs through the fire as they work to strengthen containment lines. The containment area is expected to be around 100 acres.

The Cliffside Day Use Area between Highlands and Franklin is closed to allow lake usage as a helicopter dip site. Bartram Trail is also closed from Hickory Knoll Road to State Highway 106, due to fire activity.

The Moses Creek Fire started October 28 on Sheep Mountain, northeast of Cullowhee. Burnout operations were implemented yesterday to widen containment lines.

Crews will continue to patrol and monitor the fire area and address any smoking vegetation near the fire lines. The fire area is 33 acres. No structures are threatened.

The Grape Cove Fire started October 26 near Grape Cove Branch located north of Rufus Morgan Falls, west of Franklin. The Boardtree Road remains temporarily closed.

Smoke was highly visible Saturday as burnout operations were conducted. More burnout could occur Sunday as crews patrol, monitor and continue securing containment lines.

The fire burned about 11 acres. No structures are threatened

The Dicks Creek Fire started October 23 northwest of Sylva. Patrol and monitoring continues around containment lines.

The fire area is 374 acres. No structures are damaged.


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