Archived Outdoors

Wildfire burns near Andrews

Tendrils of smoke rise through trees on Collett Ridge. USFS photo Tendrils of smoke rise through trees on Collett Ridge. USFS photo

A fire ignited by lightning Oct. 23 near Andrews has grown to 90 acres with 0% containment due to rugged terrain and limited accessibility.

Since the fire started atop Collett Ridge, it has been backing down the ridge to the north. Yesterday’s fire behavior was minimal due to cloud cover with higher relative humidity over the fire area. The fire grew on the northwest corner, with backing fire flames six inches high. Firefighters scouted the terrain and fuels to determine where best to put in a fire line, plan safety zones and escape routes. A helicopter dropped buckets of water on the hot spots to knock out the heat to lay down the fire.

“The safety of our firefighters and the public is our first priority,” stated David Ilse, Acting District Ranger for the Cheoah-Tusquitee Ranger District. “We are using aerial resources and are working to place crews safely on the ground.”

Today, crews are working to establish a hand line from Collett Creek Road to Bolden Creek and then from Bolden Branch Road over to Lords Way down to Junaluska Road using trails, creeks and existing roads. Aviation crews will be working the fire edge as needed throughout the day.

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are managing the fire under unified command.

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