Clear Creek Fire community meeting planned, officials to take questions from residents

Fire officials say the flames have now moved toward the Lake Tahoma area, near Highway 80. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A community meeting is also planned Tuesday to answer questions from residents about the Clear Creek Fire in McDowell County.

According to a recent release from the Forest Service, the Clear Creek Fire is 1187 acres in size, and is zero percent contained.

The meeting will take place at Greenlee Baptist Church in Old Fort at 6:30 tonight, and federal officials expect to take questions from residents.

Starting Tuesday, there are more firefighters on the ground as efforts ramp up to get this fire contained.

RELATED LINK | McDowell fires: Piney Mountain Fire contained, some residents asked to shelter in place

About 150 personnel are on site in McDowell County, from local, state and federal agencies.

Fire officials say the flames have now moved toward the Lake Tahoma area, near Highway 80. That is where a majority of efforts are being placed right now, as firefighters work to safeguard homes as the fire nears.

"Our hope is that we got here quick enough. There was a great initial attack with local resources. We were able to inherit resources from other incidents around the area quickly," said Patrick Lonergan, information officer for the Clear Creek Fire.

On Tuesday around noon there was heavy smoke hanging over the lake, and that could get worse as a burnout operation is planned in the area to protect homes.

So far, there have been no evacuations, but residents affected by the heavy smoke can go to a shelter at Nebo Crossing Church.

Below is the official release from the Forest Service regarding the community meeting:

Community Meeting tonight, Tuesday, November 22 at 6:30 pm at the
Greenlee Baptist Church, 5977 US 70 W, Old Fort, NC 28762
Start date: November 20, 2016
Location: 5 miles NW of Marion, NC
Cause: Under Investigation
Total Personnel: ~150 personnel
Current Size: 1,187 Acres
Containment: 0%
Resources Assigned: Thompson's Eastern Montana Type II Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire on Nov. 21st at 8:00 pm. The IMT will be working closely with local US Forest Service, NC Forest Service, and McDowell County partners. Numerous resources continue to arrive on incident including Type 1 and Type 2 hand crews, engines, heavy equipment, and helicopters.
Closures: Clear Creek Road, at the junction with Old Clear Creek Road, is closed to residential traffic only.
Current Status: Dry fuels and wind over the past couple of days provided for increased fire activity despite cooler temperatures. Crews have made progress prepping, installing, and improving indirect fireline. Favorable conditions yesterday allowed for burnout operations along the southern and eastern portions of the fire. Night operations continued to patrol along the southern and eastern edges of the fire.
Planned Actions: Firefighters will continue to construct and improve indirect fireline around the fire perimeter. When possible, crews will resume burnout operations on the northeastern edge of the fire. Structure protection will continue along the Clear Creek Road and Hwy 80. Air resources are available to assist firefighters along the western edge of the fire with bucket drops.
Weather: Low overnight temperatures along with low relative humidities and gusty winds will provide for early activity on the fire. Temperatures during the day will remain in the low 50's with light winds.
Important - Drones are prohibited in the fire vicinity & have the potential to shut down all operations.
A shelter is now open at Nebo Crossing Church for residents affected by the smoke from the Clear Creek Fire. Transportation is available by calling 652-3241 or 652-3982.

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