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Rock Mountain Fire Information Meeting in Otto November 22, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 3:44
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Otto Community Building Sign

The Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3 (PNW-3) held a Fire information meeting last night in the Otto Community Building. The meeting was standing room only as residents heard from the team managing the Rock Mountain Fire and representatives from other cooperating agencies. The video, closures that are in effect and some fire states are posted below.

Otto Fire Information Meeting Panoramic shot of room from front Photo by Bobby Coggins

Rock Mountain Fire Map of northeast Sector with Stats

Rock Mountain Fire Stats
16,698 acres
30% contained
Between 450 and 500 personnel are working the fire

The fire was discovered on Nov 9th along Tallulah River Road in the STraw Mountain area of Rabun County and the cause is currently under investigation. The fire has been continually spreading for up to 20 ti 24 hours and day and has travelled between a half to three quarters of a mile a day with some days up to a mile or more in a 24 hour period.

Rock Mountain Fire Nov 22nd Photo by James Price of PNW3

Rock Mountain Fire Objectives

•Prevent loss and/or damage to private lands on the flanks of the fire through a combination of direct attack, use of natural barriers in combination with burnout operations and point protection around threatened structures.
•Develop suppression actions on the northeast flank that consider wilderness/roadless values and threatened/sensitive species.

The team managing the fire described the history of the fire an their strategy of fighting the fire and their plans for the future. Lines are being constructed using existing features, some of them near homes.

Mulberry Road

Since Tuesday Morning November 22, the following roads have been closed for public and firefighter safety:

• Patterson Gap Road from Betty’s Creek Road to Poplar gap (USFS road)

• Betty’s Creek Road from Patterson Gap to the North Carolina state line (Rabun County)

• Mulberry from the North Carolina state line to Pagonia Drive/Beasley Gap (Macon County)


Major closures on the Nantahala include:
•Southern Nantahala Wilderness (North Carolina)
•Nantahala National Forest lands east of Eagle Fork community to Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary
•Nantahala National Forest lands south of US 64 and Allison Creek Road (SR 1448), to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary (including the •Standing Indian and Hurricane Creek areas)
•Nantahala National Forest lands west of the Nantahala Mountains ridge from Mooney Gap to Wallace Gap, and west to the Southern Nantahala •Wilderness boundary (including the Appalachian Trail, side trails, and shelter sites)
•Nantahala National Forest lands north of US64 and east of State Road 1330 to Nantahala Ranger District boundary
•Nantahala National Forest lands south and east of State Road 1307 from State Road 1330 to US64 and the Nantahala Ranger District Boundary
•Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness
•Wesser Creek Trail
•Chunky Gal Trail
•Whitewater Falls Trail and portions of Foothills Trail
•Benton MacKaye Trail east of Beech Gap

Appalachian Trail is closed from Dicks Creek Gap/U.S. 76 in Georgia (mile 69.9) to the Nantahala River/US19/US74 in North Carolina (mile 137.1).

Call the US Forest Service office for more information on road and trail closures: 828-257-4200


North Carolina is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to be issued to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are responsible for setting wildfires in western North Carolina. Anyone having information concerning these wildfires should contact Macon County Crimestoppers at (828) 349-2600 or Jackson County Crimestoppers at (828) 631-1125.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking information regarding arson fires on Indian Lands of North Carolina through the WeTip Program. Up to $10,000 is being offered through this anonymous program. WeTip can be contacted through their website: or by calling their hotline at (800) 47-ARSON ((800) 472-7766).


A total fire ban is in effect for all lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests; however, commercially available heating equipment, portable lanterns, or stoves that use gas or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed. More information is at

A North Carolina Forest Service ban on all open burning in all 25 Western NC counties is still in effect. Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The issuance of any new permits also has been suspended until the ban is lifted.


Rifle hunting season begins today in Western NC. For those hunting in the National Forests, many areas have temporary Forest closures. Contact your local ranger district to find specific information about closures, as closures may not be clear if traveling off roads and trails. To ensure your safety and the safety of our firefighters, please observe all closures and fire restrictions. For updated hunting closure information visit


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