Dangerous smoke hazard persists throughout WNC

Two dozen or so forest fires in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Western North Carolina have forced mandatory evacuations in WNC, but the impact is being felt and smelt far beyond the remote coves where they smolder. 

Wildfires torment residents, tourism

Our backyard is on fire.

From Knoxville to Asheville, a large cloud of smoke is currently hovering over this corner of Southern Appalachia. In a seemingly “whack-a-mole” scenario, wildfires keep popping up or are combining at an alarming rate. And though officials are saying these blazes will soon be under control, one question lingers — when will they be extinguished?

Swain family faces evacuation as fire encroaches

Home to the Hancock family for generations, the hills and hollows along Silvermine Road are an ingrained identity for siblings Teresa Hancock, Christy Birchfield and Garry Hancock. But this year is the first in their decades of living that smoke has obscured the sky, ash has rained from the air, and flickers of flame have threatened the home that’s served as setting for memories across the seasons of life.

Arson suspected in WNC fires; Smoke and fear hang over Franklin Veterans Day celebration

While marked by all the usual trappings of red-white-and-blue-infused color guards, antique cars and patriotic speeches, last week’s Veterans Day celebration in Franklin was a bit more sparse and a bit more somber than typical of the annual event.

Despite fire growth, wildfire containment improving; rain desperately needed

As of press time Nov. 15, Western North Carolina was ablaze with 22 wildfires burning through more than 50 square miles in the seven western counties, and while that’s significantly more than the 14 fires that were burning 17.5 square miles at press time last week, firefighters are feeling good about how the week has gone.

Up in smoke: Wildfires rage across a bone-dry WNC

Billowing smoke and inundations of suited-up firefighters have become the norm for many areas in Western North Carolina over the past couple weeks as tinderbox conditions have lured flames across more than 11,000 acres — about 17.5 square miles — of forested land in the Nantahala National Forest and adjacent private property.

Forest fire spreads to 374 acres in Jackson County

Smoke is clouding the Sylva area following the eruption of a wildfire Sunday, Oct. 23, which grew to about 374 acres by Tuesday morning, Oct. 24. Take a drive along U.S. 74, and you’re likely to feel an itch in your throat from the smoke. Look for a mountain view, and the slopes ahead will appear covered by a gauzy haze.

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