NEBO, N.C., March 28, 2017- Rain over the weekend provided much needed relief for firefighters on the White Creek Fire and local area residents. The fire is now 100% contained at 5,538 acres.
The area closure in place for Linville Gorge has been lifted. The public should use caution when visiting the area. Wildfires can create hazards including holes created by burnt tree stumps, damaged trees, and rolling rocks. Some smoking logs and stumps may remain through the weekend. The road to the Table Rock Picnic Area is closed for the season and will reopen Friday, March 31st.
Firefighters will continue to monitor the area and complete fire line repair. Longer term plans for rehabilitation are also in place. A Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team will be surveying the fire area to identify areas that may need further monitoring or active rehabilitation. Efforts will focus on areas where the fire burned with high intensity that may be at risk for increased erosion or invasion by non-native plants.
The White Creek Fire was reported Thursday March 16th near Shortoff Mountain at the south end of Linville Gorge on the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Law enforcement officials determined lightning to be the likely cause of the fire. The fire grew quickly over the first 24 hours until rains provided relief overnight on Friday March 17. While the rain reduced fire behavior, it did not extinguish the fire.
Firefighters utilized indirect suppression techniques to contain the fire, working from defensible fire lines. Use of existing natural barriers, roads and containment lines minimized impacts to the landscape from fire line construction. Burn out operations to remove fuels within the established containment area starved the fire of fuel. Burnouts were conducted in stages in an effort to limit smoke in the area. This indirect approach followed incident objectives of protecting public and firefighter safety and minimizing impacts in the wilderness. No firefighters were injured. No structures were damaged or lost.
The U.S. Forest Service led fire response efforts, with support from the North Carolina Forest Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Burke and McDowell County Emergency Management, North Carolina Emergency Management, and local volunteer fire departments.
This will be the final media release for the White Creek Fire.