After approximately two weeks battling the Clear Creek Fire, authorities said Thursday it is near containment.
According to Thompson’s Eastern Montana Type II Incident Management Team (IMT), the fire on Clear Creek Road, started on Nov. 20, is now at 95 percent containment with 3,136 acres burned.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, firefighters were unable to work on fireline rehabilitations due to rain and muddy conditions. However, they did remove supplies from the fireline and continued to assess areas for rehabilitation needs. According to the IMT, it is important to note that the rain inhibits potential in the short term, but the fuels will dry out quickly without continued precipitation. A drying trend is expected through Saturday.
While the Clear Creek Fire approaches completion, resources have been taken to the Chimney Tops 2 Fire in Gatlinburg, Tenn., which began Wednesday, Nov. 23 and has spread to 17,108 acres.
The IMT confirmed that this would be their last update on the Clear Creek Fire. The blaze will continue to be monitored by the Grandfather Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service.
Members of the McDowell Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, the State’s Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Forest Service are looking for a suspect who is allegedly responsible for setting the Clear Creek Fire and several others within the last month. Anyone with information about the fires or a possible suspect is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 652-2235, the 911 communications center at 652-4000 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). Now, you can also text your tips to Crimestoppers. Text MCDOWELLTIPS and your information to 274637 (CRIMES). With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.
The burning ban in western N.C. is still active, as well as restrictions in McDowell in lighting fires 100 feet from property. Violations will result in a $100 fine plus $180 in court costs.