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Forest Service: Monday updates on major western N.C. fires

The Clear Creek Fire has burned a total of 186 acres. Clear Creek Road is closed to the public allowing fire personnel and equipment to safely enter the area. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The Forest Service supplies an update on major western N.C. fires. For more information on wildfires, visit InciWeb here.

PINNACLE MOUNTAIN FIRE (SCFS / USFS - PICKENS COUNTY, SC AND TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, NC)

The fire that breached a northern portion of the fireline yesterday along the Saluda River has run all the way to the top of Rocky Mountain and is still uncontained. A 20-person hand crew was dispatched to the lower eastern flank of that breakout this morning to begin digging hand lines around this new section of fire. They have made their way around three-quarters of the proposed line around the northern break, and the line is holding so far.

The Forestry Commission has also called in two CL-415 amphibious water scooping aircraft, which arrived in the area around 3:30 p.m. They are scooping water from Lake Jocassee to the west of the fire and are capable of dropping 1,600 gallons of water at a time.

A Black Hawk and Chinook helicopter have been making water drops on the fire's spreading front all day, and a Forestry Commission airplane continues to do reconnaissance, providing ground crews with aerial observations.

The lines along the entire eastern perimeter of the containment area are holding well, according to SCFC officials. Even though the fire is still largely contained, fire continues to burn in a mosaic fashion inside the roughly 5,100-acre perimeter. A Type 3 incident management team (IMT) from Utah has joined the incident command staff for the fire to provide planning, logistics, operational and information support.

Acreage: 5100 - Start Date: November 9

CLEAR CREEK FIRE (NCFS / USFS - PLEASANT GARDENS AREA, MCDOWELL COUNTY)

Fire crews will continue to monitor homes in the Clear Creek Fire zone. Fortunately, aerial measurements drastically reduced the original acre estimates. The Clear Creek Fire has burned a total of 186 acres. Clear Creek Road is closed to the public allowing fire personnel and equipment to safely enter the area. Residents living on Clear Creek Road are allowed entry, but asked to limit travel. No evacuations have been necessary thus far. The Eastern Montana IMT Type 2 Team will assume management of the incident Monday evening 11/21/16.

Acreage: 186 - Start Date: November 20

PINEY MOUNTAIN FIRE (USFS - CURTIS CREEK AREA, MCDOWELL COUNTY)

Indirect dozer line was completed around the fire perimeter, allowing burnout to the dozer line. Mop up will continue today. This is the last update for the Piney Mountain Fire; updates will be added as necessary.

Acreage: 55 - Containment: 100 percent - Start Date: November 20

MAPLE SPRINGS FIRE (USFS-LAKE SANTEELAH AREA, GRAHAM COUNTY)

Increased containment was gained on the northwest perimeter of the fire and extends south to the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness boundary. Minimal fire spread is expected on the Maple Springs fire based on the success of suppression actions and the forecasted weather. An infrared flight Sunday night revealed only about a half dozen heat spots remaining on the fire and all the heat signatures were well within containment lines.

Firefighters are mopping up and patrolling fire lines while initiating rehabilitation measures on dozer lines, helispot bases and other areas of the fire where suppression actions disturbed the landscape. A fireline explosive crew finished blasting operations in the Memorial Forest on Sunday but will be taking a few more hazard trees down today along Forest Road 416 leading into the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. A U.S. Forest Service closure order remains in place for the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness and roads leading into the area.

Acreage: 7,788 - Containment: 69 percent - Personnel: 300 - Start Date: November 4

TELLICO FIRE (USFS-NANTAHALA GORGE AREA, SWAIN AND MACON COUNTIES)

A.M. update remains unchanged; suppression repair operations that will continue to minimize the impact of fire suppression activities on the unburned sections of the forest, adjacent to the burn area.

Acreage: 13,874 - Containment: 90 percent - Personnel: 260- Start Date: November 3

BOTELER FIRE (USFS-CHUNKY GAL AREA, CLAY COUNTY)

A.M. update remains unchanged; firefighters will monitor and respond to any threats to the containment line. Leaf fall continues to challenge containment efforts by covering fire lines causing reburn. Patrolling and monitoring existing fire lines will continue.

Acreage: 9,015- Containment: 72 percent - Personnel: 391 - Start Date: October 25

CATHY GAP FIRE (USFS - JACKSON/TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY LINE)

Based on completed containment actions and available staffing, no fire spread is anticipated. Risk should be reduced as the cold front moves past the area and wind speeds moderate. Fire crews will strengthen containment lines and provide structure protection where needed. Increased wind speeds will result in a heavier leaf fall. These leaves will accumulate, and add to the potential for re-burn inside the fire area. Crews will patrol and clear leaves from containment lines.

Acreage: 123 - Containment: 85 percent - Personnel: 53 - Start Date: November 17

PARTY ROCK FIRE (NCFS-LAKE LURE AREA, RUTHERFORD, BUNCOMBE, AND HENDERSON COUNTIES)

Because the threat from the Party Rock Fire has diminished, all evacuation and pre-evacuation notices for the Town of Lake Lure and surrounding neighborhoods are cancelled as of noon today, Monday 11/21/16. This includes those parts of the Rumbling Bald Resort that have been under a mandatory evacuation notice: Deerfield; Fairfield; Youngs Mountain; and Quail Ridge. The pre-evacuation notice for Three Creeks, Cedar Creek Road, Buffalo Creek Road, Riverbend Highlands, Tatanka, Apple Valley, Shumont Estates and Buffalo Shoals, is also cancelled as of noon today.

A state of emergency remains in effect for the town of Lake Lure. Fire and town officials caution everyone that the recently burned areas contain many hazards, including damaged and standing dead trees called "snags," that can fall without warning at any time. There are also stump holes, some of which may still contain enough heat to cause serious burns to people and pets.

The Lake Town Hall is now open for normal business hours, but only through the front entrance, and using the front parking lot. The rest of the area around the municipal building is still being used as an incident command post and is closed to the public. The park also remains closed as it serves as fire base camp, with access restricted to incident personnel. Visitors to town hall should use caution because of the high volume of fire and emergency traffic.

Acreage: 7,171 - Containment: 45 percent - Personnel: 925 - Start Date: November 5

CHESTNUT KNOB FIRE (NCFS-SOUTH MOUNTAINS STATE PARK, BURKE COUNTY)

Falling leaves are producing "re-burn" in previously burned areas as they fall into smoldering areas and ignite. The falling leaves are also covering fire lines, which is requiring crews to clean out fire lines several times daily. Aerial resources are still available to respond to the fire if needed in areas of concern. The helicopter made several drops to control the areas of "re-burn" today. Fire crews will continue to mop up and hold the fire line in all divisions.

Acreage: 6,433- Containment: 45 percent - Personnel: 395 - Start Date: November 6

DOBSON 3 FIRE (BIA- QUALLA BOUNDARY, JACKSON COUNTY)

Resources continue to be available to assist local resources with any new fires that may start within the Qualla Boundary. Fire suppression crews continue to monitor and patrol all fires within the Qualla Boundary. Safety of the firefighters and the community is number the one priority as the firefighters go about their daily responsibilities.

Acreage: 756- Containment: 85 percent - Personnel: 80 - Start Date: November 2

ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE (USFS - SOUTHERN NANTAHALA WILDERNESS AREA, NORTH GEORGIA AND CLAY AND MACON COUNTIES IN NC)

Firefighters will patrol and re-clear existing containment lines on the south fire perimeter, and additional crews have been assigned to the east fire perimeter. On the northern fire perimeter, line construction and scouting will continue and as conditions allow. A public meeting is scheduled tonight, Monday 11/21/16 - 6 P.M. at the Rabun County Courthouse in Clayton, GA

Acreage: 11,287 - Containment: 30 percent - Personnel: 434- Start Date: November 9

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