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Cold Mountain fire grows, rain predicted

Cold Mountain fire grows, rain predicted

The Cold Mountain Fire is still burning in Haywood County, with a helicopter flight measuring it at approximately 126 acres as of noon today.

Firefighters made good progress on enhancing structure protection today, with a crew of 30 working to keep the blaze from moving in the direction of nearby buildings and private land.

The fire was reported at 3 a.m. Thursday morning and is burning within the Shining Rock Wilderness Area on the Pisgah Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has issued a closure order for the entire area. All recreational uses — including use of its 53 miles of trail — are currently prohibited in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. Use of drones is prohibited as well. Presence of the devices impedes use of firefighting aircraft.

Residents should expect heavy smoke throughout the night, with rain predicted to move into the area tonight and tomorrow.

The incident has been fairly complex for a small fire because it involves designated Wilderness Area in close proximity to private residences. Fortunately, topography and fire behavior allowed managers to make decisions that provided good structure protection while still employing minimum impact suppression tactics appropriate for the designated Wilderness Area.

Agencies involved in the response include the U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Forest Service, Haywood County Emergency Management, Cruso Fire Department and National Park Service.

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