Late Season Wildfires Rage Across the Southeast

Wildfires and Drought

Extreme drought has turned much of the southeastern United States into a potential tinderbox. Wildfire activity in the Southeast is normally rather tame this late in the season, but current conditions have sparked dozens of new fires. Across Appalachia, 38 active wildfires have burned an estimated 37,734 acres. More than 5,000 firefighters from across the nation have been enlisted to help battle the fires and North Carolina’s governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for the majority of his state’s western counties.

The normally lush Southeast has not experienced substantial rainfall in almost two months and some areas are reporting the driest measurements in over 100 years. A recent report by the Southeast Regional Climate Center indicates that nearly 40% of the region is under drought conditions. Fire danger is further exacerbated by the unseasonably warm temperatures and gusty winds which have gripped the area since early October. Although some temperature relief is expected over the next couple weeks, precipitation is forecast to be limited. Rainfall averages in most areas are well below normal and experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are concerned the drought will persist through the winter due to “La Nina“. 

Current Southeastern Wildfires

Current Wildfires in the Southeast United States. nifc.gov

Current Wildfires in the Southeast United States. nifc.gov

 

North Carolina

Multiple wildfires have been reported and fire bans are in place for 25 western counties.

Party Rock Fire

The fire is growing rapidly in steep and rugged terrain. Evacuations are in place and were expanded after the fire grew significantly during the night of November 10-11th.

  • Date of origin: 11/05/2016
  • Location: Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, North Carolina
  • Total Personnel: 142
  • Size: 977
  • Containment: 15%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Citizen Times
Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, North Carolina

Party Rock Fire – Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, North Carolina, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Tellico Fire

Arson is the suspected cause of the fire, and an investigation is underway. Evacuations are in place and further evacuations are expected as the fire continues to grow.

  • Date of origin: 11/03/2016
  • Location: Almond, North Carolina
  • Total Personnel: 137
  • Size: 6,839 acres
  • Containment: 18%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Smoky Mountain Times
Tellico Fire - Almond, North Carolina

Tellico Fire – Almond, North Carolina, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Maple Springs Fire

The Maple Springs fire and the Avery Branch fire have merged. Crews are focused on structure protection and attempting to establish fire lines.

  • Date of origin: 11/04/2016
  • Location: Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina
  • Total Personnel: 192
  • Size: 5,083
  • Containment: 10%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: NBC4
Maple Springs Fire - Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina

Maple Springs Fire – Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

Boteler Fire

The Boteler fire is growing rapidly and the area is under a local red flag warning.

  • Date of origin: 11/11/2016
  • Location: Hayesville, NC
  • Total Personnel: 538
  • Size: 4,767 acres
  • Containment: 12%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: ABC12
Boteler Fire - Hayesville, NC

Boteler Fire – Hayesville, NC, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard 

Kentucky

Forestry officials say there are 21 active fires in Kentucky that are responsible for burning more than 17,000 acres.

Gatliff Fire

Date of origin: 11/09/2016

Location: Gatliff, Kentucky

Size: 1,223

Containment: 40%

Incident Page: Kentucky Division of Forestry

News Article: Fox News

Tennessee

At least 53 active wildfires have consumed almost 10,000 acres, as a result, the Governor has declared a state of emergency.

Flipper Bend Fire

Date of origin: 11/07/2016

Location: Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Size: 780 acres

Containment: Unknown

News Article: ABC News

Georgia

Over 84 wildfire calls have been reported since November 10th, 2016.

Rough Ridge Fire

Air Attack is attempting burning operations in order to reduce fuels. Some reports indicate the fire has grown to over 13,000 acres.

  • Date of origin: 10/16/2016
  • Location: Cisco, GA
  • Total Personnel: 227
  • Size: 10,336 acres
  • Containment: 20%
  • Incident Page: InciWeb
  • News Article: Atlanta Journal
Rough Ridge Fire - Cisco, Georgia

Rough Ridge Fire – Cisco, Georgia, as seen in the RZAlert Dashboard

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] one point in November, RedZone Disaster Intelligence was tracking dozens of different fires across various southeastern states. NOAA reported that this November was the second worst in […]

  2. […] of the eastern Appalachian fires we wrote about last week continue to burn. The National Parks Service has imposed an outdoor fire ban as of Thursday, […]

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