Relentless smoke spreads fear at edge of southern wildfires

  • Relentless smoke spreads fear at edge of southern wildfires

Relentless smoke spreads fear at edge of southern wildfires

An aircraft from the U.S. Forestry Service drops fi re retardant on a wildfi re burning along the Flipper Bend area of Signal Mountain in Hamilton County, Tenn., on November 9.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam banned any outdoor burning in more than half of the state through December 15.

"The goal is to keep this line intact", Stokesberry said, pointing to a narrow, winding dirt road between a burning mountainside and a pasture that, so far, has been untouched by the fire. The community is encouraged to attend. There is no need to call 911 to report general odors of smoke outside, according to Wilson County Emergency Management Agency officials. By 7 p.m. Wednesday, flames were already in the area that was evacuated, according to CBS North Carolina's Amy Cutler.

While one of the region's biggest blazes - the Rough Ridge Fire in northern Georgia, where over 23,000 acres have been consumed - was started by lightning, officials worry that people acting carelessly or intentionally could set off a new inferno.

Like others from Wake County, Thornton, Knightdale's Evan Guinn and Eastern Wake Fire Department's Capt. Brian Bunn, Henry Stubblefield and Matt Toler are scheduled to be deployed for seven days.

In Tennessee, almost 16,000 acres have burned in 67 active fires, according to the state Department of Agriculture's Division of Forestry.

The fires in North Carolina now cover in excess of 40,000 acres. The Tellico Fire - at 13,679 acres, by far the largest in the state - is now 74 percent contained. Zebulon also sent two firefighters in a brush truck, Caleb Creech and Colby Stepp.

"We have not done any more evacuations", he said.

"In the middle of last week, we experienced a wind event, and that resulted in rapid fire spread and significant growth in nearly all fires", he said.

"The way this thing takes off, they'll get it contained, and it just depends on the wind, but it's turned so many times on us", said Montgomery, 47.

The disabled veteran said his children are staying in Hendersonville and that they'd come get him if he needs it.

The problem worsens when the sun slips toward the western horizon, she explained, because elevations in the Shining Rock Wilderness to the west top 6,000 feet.

"They could be dealing with it (smoke) for the foreseeable future", Smith said.

"Some of us have the ability to extend", Lyon said. He never expected a 4,500-acre blaze to threaten Lake Lure, where he works, and Black Mountain, where he's lived for 16 years.

Divisions of the park titled Bravo, Charlie and Delta on the eastern and southeastern side are still being moped up as stated in a previous News Herald article.

"The smoke is actually kind of starting to rise today", Tillotson said.

"The work is not over", he said. "Last night, we did a lot of burn out operations over near Bob's Knob to get a lot of that fuel burned".

While the forest service crews were initially deployed for 14 days, it appears they will now be there for 21 days, according to the ranger.

Air quality in McDowell continues to be classified "code red" as a result of wildfires in Party Rock and South Mountain.

Bond says there will be more resources coming in, including (fire) engines and leaf blowers.

"They're going to be smelling more smoke", Lyons said.

"We have firefighters and personnel from all over the United States".

Greathouse added, "But the pattern is not so well defined yet", so it's hard to make statements about long term implications for wildfires and firefighting in western North Carolina.

Bond says fog levels are to be high and, with the mixture of that and the dispersion being low tonight, Bond says that makes for risky driving situations.