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All but 2 WNC wildfires contained

Henderson County officials and law enforcement will implement an evacuation between the intersections of Highway 74-A and Shumont Road at noon on Wednesday, November 16. The evacuation notice will include all roads that connect to Highway 9. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

After weeks of burning across Western North Carolina, wildfires are mostly contained. Only two - Camp Branch and Rock Mountain fires - remain active.

Containment efforts by firefighters on Camp Branch and Rock Mountain fires are on hold because of the rain. When it is safe, fire crews will continue to mop up and secure containment lines, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release.

The Camp Branch Fire is now 85% contained in Macon County. It started on Nov. 23 and has burned 3,422 acres.

The Rock Mountain Fire has burned 24,725 acres in Macon and Clay counties and northern Georgia. As of Wednesday morning it was 95% contained.

The U.S. Forest Service has lifted fire restrictions on the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests. Although campfires are allowed, visitors are asked to be careful with fire.

Fire crews remain across the region to assist local units with post-fire repair efforts. Crews are working with Resource Advisors to reduce or eliminate the possibility of erosion and sedimentation resulting from fire suppression activities such as fire lines, reopened roads and other disturbed areas.

RELATED | Rangers evaluate benefits of WNC wildfires

Longer term plans for restoration are in the works. The National Forests in North Carolina assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response assessment team to analyze the post-fire condition of national forest lands burned this fall. Fire on the landscape can have positive and negative effects on the forest. The BAER team identifies areas of high fire intensity that may need further monitoring or active restoration to protect water quality or forest health.

The BAER team is compiling reports that will identify immediate and emergency actions to address post-fire risks to people, property and cultural and natural resources. High intensity wildfire can increase the risk of flooding, erosion and sedimentation. Other potential hazards include debris flow, reduced water quality, invasive plants or falling trees and rocks. The BAER team report will contain an assessment of watershed pre- and post-fire response, areas of concern, values-at-risk and recommended short-term emergency stabilization treatments.

The North Carolina Joint Information Center has closed, but information that was posted about the area fires on center's blog. Follow the National Forests in North Carolina on Facebook or Twitter for more news and features.

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