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Press release from the U.S. Forest Service, shared Nov. 20:
Summary: 2,579 acres; 50 percent contained; 200 personnel
BURKE COUNTY – The Table Rock Fire showed some increased activity Wednesday morning in the area just north of Chimney Branch.
A decision was made to burn the 100-acre block of unburned fuels between the active fire, Chimney Branch to the south, and Linville River to the west to strengthen the natural barriers and aid in slowing the fire’s southern progress. On Wednesday, weather conditions were optimal for completing the burnout in a safe manner. Ignition was accomplished using plastic spheres resembling ping-pong balls containing combustible chemicals. After being activated, the spheres were dropped from a helicopter-mounted aerial ignition machine into the specific areas targeted for burning.
Forecast winds for the next several days will keep any embers from this burnout within the black area of the fire.
Weatherwise, light winds and much higher humidity levels will limit fire growth potential over the next couple of days.
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Despite more favorable conditions to limit fire growth, the combination of fog development and light winds may lead to highly reduced visibilities near the fire Thursday night and Friday morning. Persons driving through the area during those times should be alert for rapidly changing conditions and use extreme caution, slow down, and turn on headlights. A strong cold front will move through Saturday morning with sharply colder temperatures, very windy conditions, and much lower humidity levels through Sunday.
A community meeting is planned for today to inform neighboring communities about the processes and strategies used to identify and select fire suppression activities. There are many, many variables that must be considered before critical decisions are made in firefighting. The public is invited to join local U.S. Forest Service officials and leaders from the Southern Area Type 2 Team for an opportunity to learn about the fire, what has happened to date, what actions are being considered and what factors will affect decisions relating to those actions.
Where: Jonas Ridge Fire and Rescue Department
8224 Buckeye Hollow Rd.
Jonas Ridge, NC 28641
When: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 6 p.m.
For more information, contact the Fire Information Center at 828-432-9817.
The Table Rock wildfire, which started on Nov. 12, is located in Linville Gorge on Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest.
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For information on the latest road and trail closures, visit the National Forests in North Carolina website. Visitors should check the website before planning a trip to the gorge. Additional information and photos can also be found at the Incident Information System website http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3752/.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Fire investigators are looking for any information or observations that may help determine the cause of the fire. A reward may be offered for substantial information and persons should contact Law Enforcement Officer Jason Crisp at 828-442-2470 or the Grandfather Ranger District at 828-652-2144.