Archived Outdoors

Last WNC wildfires contained

The Black Bear Fire sparked Nov. 16  following a tractor-trailer crash. USFS photo The Black Bear Fire sparked Nov. 16 following a tractor-trailer crash. USFS photo

For the first time since Oct. 23, Western North Carolina is free of active wildfires. 

The Black Bear Fire on the Pisgah National Forest in Haywood County, as well as the Clear Creek and Locust Cove #2 fires in the Pisgah National Forest in McDowell County, were brought to 100% containment last week.

“Rain over the weekend helped firefighters complete containment of the fire,” reads a Dec. 14 press release announcing containment of the Black Bear Fire. “However western North Carolina is still in our worst drought since 2017, so residents are advised to abide by any restrictions and exercise caution if burning debris, and while driving or towing vehicles.”

The Black Bear Fire burned 2,008 acres, while the Clear Creek and Locust Cove #2 fires burned 124 acres and 180 acres, respectively.

Despite its size, the Black Bear Fire did not destroy any structures or result in any injuries. The response was managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Southern Area Blue Incident Management Team, with help from a variety of agencies: Haywood County Emergency Services; Haywood County Sheriff’s Office; Fines Creek Volunteer Fire Department; a variety of local fire departments in Tennessee; N.C. Highway Patrol; state forestry and transportation agencies from both states, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

The section of the Appalachian Trail between Brown Gap Road and I-40 has now reopened to hikers, and Brown Gap Road is now open to vehicles.

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