The Table Rock wildfire advanced south today, moving across containment lines at Chimney Gap. Line construction in this area was difficult due to steep, rocky terrain and inaccessible areas in the rock outcrops. A 40 acre spot fire was found during the morning reconnaissance, causing the North Carolina Type 3 Team to implement contingency plans which identified new containment lines. There are no structures threatened as a result of this new development, and the Team plans to bring in additional fire fighters to help in suppression efforts. Two helicopters dropped water on the spot fire most of the day and an additional helicopter (Type 1) was ordered, which can drop up to 1,000 gallons at one time.

Most of the suppression activities today were focused around burn out operations along the south flank. Dozer lines held on the eastern side of the fire, tying in with Forest Road 118. Agency crews and the Oak Hill Volunteer Fire Department continue to stand by at the Outward Bound camp, in case the fire pushed on the northeast containment line. Fire is still backing in the southwest corner but all other areas have fully burned and fire activity is mostly out. Weather conditions worked in the crews favor with higher humidity and light winds. Most of the smoke is drifting to the east, impacting mostly forest lands. Communities near the fire will continue to experience some smoke but not to a level which is considered dangerous.

Smoke dispersion is expected to be poor this evening, and residents east and south of the fire may experience an increase in smoke into tomorrow morning.

Size of the fire is estimated at 2,700 acres with 40% containment. There are no additional structures threatened and no reported injuries. Just over 100 fire fighters are assisting with the suppression efforts, representing North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Roads and trails in the Linville Gorge remain closed to the public. If you have plans to access the gorge this weekend you should check the National Forests in North Carolina website for the latest closure information before leaving on your trip.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. However, fire investigators would appreciate talking with the group who were camping at Table Rock Picnic Area last Monday, Veteran’s Day. Investigators believe this group has information that would aid in the investigation. A reward may be offered for substantial information regarding this investigation and persons should contact Law Enforcement Officer Jason Crisp at 828-442-2470 or the Grandfather Ranger District at 828-652-2144.