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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:43

Forest Service fights large fire in Nantahala; smaller one in Cullowhee

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Nearly 40 U.S. Forest Service and North Carolina Forest Service firefighters battled a 750-acre wildfire in the Tusquitee Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest this week. The fire started Sunday and had spread 60 acres by Monday. Its large size was mostly due to controlled burns intentionally set by firefighters to establish a contained perimeter.

Firefighters also fought a smaller wildfire, some 40 acres in size, in the Cullowhee area in Jackson County. The Cullowhee fire threatened three houses before being contained. A campfire is suspected of sparking the blaze.

In Tusquitee near Murphy on that fire, control lines were in place, and the fire was considered 100 percent contained Tuesday.

Forest Service officials predicted it would be another couple days before the fire was fully controlled, however. No structures were threatened. The fire was located about 14 miles northwest of Murphy near Turner Top mountain. Suppression efforts included a U.S. Forest Service hot-shot crew, district staff and N.C. Forest Service firefighters on the ground. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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