Caldwell County wildfire under control

Caldwell County wildfire under control

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by DIANA RUGG / NBC Charlotte & Associated Press

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianaRuggwcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 2:35 AM

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. -- Authorities say a wildfire that in northwest Caldwell County is now under control.
 
NBC Charlotte's news partner, The Charlotte Observer, reported the U.S. Forest Service crews have contained the blaze. They say the fire may burn 250 acres before it is extinguished.
 
The fire started late Friday night. Fire-fighting crews set up a containment line around the blaze Sunday and got it under control.
 
A reduced crew was expected to be working the fire Monday. No buildings have burned and no injuries have been reported.

Flames consumed more than 150 acres in the Pisgah National Forest this weekend, but firefighters believe they have the fire contained.

Fifty firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service battled flames on Globe Mountain in northwest Caldwell County, nearly two days after fire investigators believe the wildfire started.  They are still investigating the cause.

The Forest Service blocked Globe Mountain road as firefighters created containment lines surrounding about 250 acres where the fire is located.  They believe flames will consume most of the containment area but not go beyond that, said Keith Jenkins, a Forest Service spokesman.

The fire grew quickly Saturday, as drivers along U.S. 321 in Caldwell County reported heavy smoke in the area.

“Initially it did spread because it had uphill slope which is conducive for fire growth,” said Jenkins. “The low humidity and dry fuels just encourage it to go further.”

Jenkins said fighting flames and cutting lines on the mountain trails was not easy.

“The biggest issue is the steep, rough terrain,” he said. “And for safety issues, falling snags and those type of things are what we're concerned about with our firefighters on the ground.”

Jenkins said a fire in the same area five years ago removed a lot of leaves and underbrush that would have made the fires burn even hotter, giving firefighters a break.

Little or no winds Sunday helped them make a lot of progress, but low humidity keeps the remaining flames a threat.

“It just encourages more of the fuels that are on the ground – the leaves and small twigs -- to ignite easily and burn quickly,” said Jenkins.

Only a few homes are within a quarter-mile of the flames, said Jenkins, and special crews kept watch to keep them out of harm’s way.  They were not damaged.

Because of the progress fighting the fire Sunday, Jenkins said fewer firefighters would be needed Monday to watch hot spots and do “mop up” duty.
 

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