Nantahala District Ranger Mike Wilkins was headed to church Sunday morning, Oct. 23, when he got the call. A forest fire had ignited the Dicks Creek area of the Nantahala National Forest, near Sylva. Fire Management Officer Greg Brooks was already on the scene, and the response had to start ASAP.
“I was walking out the door, literally on the porch,” Wilkins said. He turned himself around, changed out of his Sunday best and drove out to meet Brooks, sizing up the challenge set before them.