FRANKLIN, NC, October 30, 2016 - Elevated fire activity on the Nantahala National Forest has prompted fire management officials to transition from district management to a Type 3 organization. The transition, effective today, 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.
Summary of ongoing fire activity:
Boteler Peak Fire: Started October 25th on Boteler Peak east of Murphy. Active fire with acreage increased from 2-acres to an estimated 40-acres at this time. Suppression efforts underway.
Jones Gap Fire: Started October 29th near Bartram Trail, located northwest of Highlands. Helicopters were used to reduce fire intensity, allowing hand crews and a dozer to quickly 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 today. The containment area is expected to be around 100 acres. The U.S. Forest Service is in unified command with the North Carolina Forest Service. 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.
Moses Creek Fire - Started October 28th 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 threatened.
Grape Cove Fire: Started October 26th near Grape Cove Branch located north of Rufus Morgan Falls, west of Franklin. The Boardtree Road remains temporarily closed. Smoke was highly visible yesterday as burnout operations were conducted. More burnout could occur today as crews patrol, monitor and continue securing containment lines. The fire burned about 11 acres. No structures are threatened
Dicks Creek Fire: Started October 23rd northwest of Sylva. Patrol and monitoring continues around containment lines. Fire area is 374 acres. No structures damaged.
HIGH Fire Danger today!
NO Campfires allowed except in developed campgrounds where fees are charged.
See previous coverage of the Jones Gap Gap at this link. All photos in this article are courtesy fo the USFS of the Jones Gap Fire: