Fire teams fighting blazes in the western part of the state were able to make some progress Sunday morning, according the National Forest Service. Higher humidity helped teams suppress fires.
By midday Sunday, the Boteler Fire, east of Hayesville, was at 8,180 acres and was 23 percent contained. Clay County evacuations associated with that fire were lifted on Sunday.
The Tellico Fire, 3 miles south of Almond, was at 9,965 acres and 33 percent contained on Sunday afternoon. The fire started Nov. 3.
It has closed a 10-mile section of U.S. 19/74 in the Nantahala Gorge because of rocks and debris falling onto the roadway, the Forest Service said in a release. The closure starts at N.C. 129 on the south end and N.C. 28 to the north.
N.C. Department of Transportation said in a separate release that the road will be closed to all traffic until officials determine it is safe for residents and visitors. There is a 30-mile detour set up around the closure: southbound traffic should take N.C. 28 to Stecoah, south on N.C. 143 in Robbinsville, then south on U.S. 129 to Topton. Northbound traffic will follow the same route in reverse.
A section of the Appalachian Trial is closed because of fire activity in North Carolina and Georgia. The A.T. is closed from Dicks Creek Gap/U.S. 76 in Georgia (mile 69.9) to the Nantahala River/U.S. 19/74 in North Carolina (mile 137.1), according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s website. Campfires are banned along the entire A.T. in Georgia, N.C. and Tennessee.