Firefighters are working to contain a 30-acre wildfire burning on N.C. 226A, according to reports.
The Coxes Creek #7 Fire was reported at 4:30 pm yesterday, Monday Dec. 18. The fire is burning on U.S. Forest Service land and private property in the Turkey Cove Community off 226A north of Marion near Armstrong Creek Road.
The estimated amount of containment has not been determined yet, according to USFS Public Information Officer Lisa Jennings.
Crews are working to establish fire lines around the blaze. Once containment lines are established, firefighters plan to conduct burnout operations to remove fuels between the active fire and the fire lines. Burnout operations are used to slow fire spread and increase containment. The public can expect to see increased smoke in the area from these operations. Smoke may settle in valleys and low-lying areas overnight, especially along N.C. 226A and U.S. 221.
Protection of public and firefighter safety is the number one priority. N.C. 226A is expected to remain open, but will be used for firefighter traffic. Drivers should drive slowly and use caution, as vehicles and people will be staging along the roadside on the lower end of N.C. 226A.
The U.S. Forest Service is managing the wildfire in coordination with the North Carolina Forest Service, McDowell EMS, McDowell Rescue Squad, Emergency Management, and local fire departments from Marion, PG., Hankins, Ashford-North Cove, Dysartsville and Parkway Fire & Rescue. Approximately 25 firefighters are responding to the fire.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. If you see suspicious activity in the area, please report it to the McDowell County Sherriff's Office detective line at 828-652-2237. Conviction for arson on national forests carries a mandatory penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.