More than 52,000 acres in Western NC have now been charred by over 20 wildfires that are spreading through Western NC. There are currently 16 active fires; however, the fires at this point are well contained and under control.
So, no need to worry as this is still a perfect time for a weekend getaway to the mountains! Highlands is beautiful this time of year, as you can watch the changing of the seasons and go for a hike through any of the national and state parks. There are also great fishing paradises in our several surrounding lakes and rivers. Getting dark outside? There’s plenty to do at night too. Enjoy the shopping, dining and history of Highlands! Most are just smoldering with only small amounts of burn activity. A cold front and winds over the weekend have removed most of the smoke from the area as well.
Thousands of firefighters are currently fighting to contain the Forest Fires in Western NC and get the fires under control. These are a combination of both local firefighters, and firefighters that have travelled in from all over the country to assist.
Many of the more than 20 active wildfires in North Carolina are being investigated as suspected arson. A couple of arrests have already been made in TN and the people charged with arson as a result of setting fires. North Carolina has a $10,000 reward for anyone that can provide information leading to the arrest of anyone connected with starting any of the NC fires.
Governor Pat McCrory requested federal funding to assist with fighting the fires. Funding was approved and a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay 75% of the emergency protective measures taken while fighting the fires.
Wildfires often start due to environmental causes, especially under dry conditions, like Western North Carolina is experiencing now. North Carolina and other surrounding states are experiencing some of the driest conditions in history this fall. The majority of the current NC Wildfires are the result of humans. Things like sparks from machinery, unattended campfires, leaf burning and cigarettes.
Some helpful tips for proper wood fire burning:
- Avoid using wet or rotten wood, and never burn trash or cardboard in your fireplace.
- Pressure-treated wood and chipboard are also inappropriate.
- To start the fire, you need kindling — smaller pieces of wood that will take flame easily.
- Stack a few split logs on your grate and place kindling around and below them.
- When it is time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
- Keep the metal container outside your home and away from any combustibles until the refuse is hauled away.
- DO NOT place any other combustibles in the metal container.
- DO NOT use a combustible container.