Updates on the Status of Forest Fires in NC & Virginia

Published Apr 28, 2016

United States Forest Service personnel have been working night and day to keep the public informed about the status of forest fires threatening the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia, along with volunteers, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the folks at Shenandoah National Park.

At 11:23 AM on Thursday, April 28, 2016 this report was released on the status of forest fires near Hot Springs, NC:

The Silver Mine Fire was reported on Thursday, April 21, in Madison County, approximately 1 mile East of Hot Springs, NC. The fire is burning on the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. The fire quickly grew to 2,500 acres before rain moved into the area on Friday, April 22. The area received approximately 1/2 inch of rain, reducing fire behavior but not fully extinguishing the flames. Firefighters are conducting burn out operations to secure fire lines and increase containment.

The government website InciWeb has the latest updates on incidents on federal land.

On April 28th, the USFS published this update

Rainfall provided relief for firefighting efforts on the Silver Mine Fire burning near Hot Springs, NC. An estimated .75 inch rain fell in the area on Wednesday. Before the rain, the fire had burned to 5,300 acres within the containment lines. The fire is now 90% contained. Fire managers estimate that the final acreage could be close to 6,000 acres.

The rain has helped reduce burning to the extent that firefighters have begun working with representatives of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to evaluate trail conditions and plan the work needed to prepare the trail for reopening. However, the Appalachian Trail will remain closed until safety concerns are addressed and the fire is fully contained.

Smoke from the fire has reduced significantly but can still be expected over the next few days and may settle in low areas overnight. The public should be cautious and use headlights when traveling in low visibility areas. Smoke sensitive individuals should take appropriate precautions.

Firefighters will soon be turning their attention to post-fire repair of the containment lines. Crews will be working closely with Resource Advisors to assess the area. Efforts will be made to quickly reduce or eliminate the risk of erosion and sedimentation resulting from fire suppression activities such as fire lines, reopened roads, and other disturbance.

Longer term plans are also being made to ensure that forest health in the fire area is not compromised and any needed rehabilitation is completed. While many wildfires cause little damage to the land and pose few threats to fish, wildlife and people downstream, some fires create situations that require special efforts to prevent further problems after the fire. Loss of vegetation in areas where the fire burned with high intensity exposes soil to erosion and may increase runoff that can move sediment downstream, increasing the chance for additional resource issues. The Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program addresses these situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and forest health from further damage after the fire is out.

The following roads and trails remain closed:
  • Appalachian Trail from Town of Hot Springs to Hurricane Gap
  • Roundtop Ridge Trail (#295)
  • Lovers Leap Loop Trail (#308)
  • Pump Gap Trail (#309)
  • Hurricane Gap Rd (NC-FSR467 / TN-FSR31 (Cherokee NF))
  • Mill Ridge Rd (NC-FSR113)
  • Shad Rd (TN-FSR422 (Cherokee NF))
The public is asked to heed signs posted at roads and trailheads and to stay away from fire areas and closed trails. Information on alternate access points to the Appalachian Trail is available from multiple sources in Hot Springs, as well as online at www.appalachiantrail.org.
Firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service, North Carolina Forest Service, local Volunteer Fire Departments, and North Carolina Emergency Management are assisting in suppression efforts. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Accidents, Closings, US Forest Service, Weather, Closures, Rescues, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Conservation, Hikers, Hiking Safety, Information, and updates on forest fires appalachian trail

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
Related Articles

Published Apr 21, 2016. Forest fires are burning along portions of the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Volunteers offer hikers free shuttles to safety.

Published Nov 25, 2016. Please, observe the fire ban that extends along the path of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Virginia and in national forests nearby.

Published Aug 13, 2015. Fires in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest at Bald Knob & Wolf Creek continue to burn. Smoke can be seen by hikers on the Appalachian Trail.