Progress made on some wildfires in the South, while others still grow

Above: Firefighters operate leaf blowers on the Chestnut Knob Fire. The fire is 6 miles south of Morganton, NC and at the last report grew by 9 acres. Undated and  uncredited InciWeb photo.

While several large fires in the southern states are still actively spreading, firefighters have made progress on dozens of others.

On Monday the Southern Geographic Area reported 52 large uncontained fires, for a total of 133,146 acres. There were 185 new fires of all sizes for 1,477 acres; most of those were suppressed while still small. That was considered “moderate” initial attack activity.

Firefighting resources assigned in the South:

  • 78 aircraft
  • 83 hand crews
  • 1,011 pieces of equipment
  • 4,476 personnel
map wildfires south
Map showing the location of some of the large fires in the southern states. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:22 am November 21, 2016.

On Sunday evening four fires reported 24-hour growth of more than 100 acres:

Rock Mountain Fire

Map Rock Mountain Fire
Map of the perimeter of the Rock Mountain Fire at 6 p.m. ET November 20, 2016.

The Rock Mountain Fire that started about 10 miles northwest of Clayton Georgia has spread north into North Carolina. At the last report it had burned 11,287 acres, an increase of 862 acres. On Sunday it was very active, moving through the hardwood leaf litter in all directions at a rate of about one mile each day. Evacuations are still in place for Dream Catcher Cove north of Tate City, Georgia.

On Saturday strong winds pushed the blaze across the Appalachian Trail on the north end of the fire. Winds blowing leaves still falling from trees are creating problems for firefighters, covering existing firelines and causing some areas to re-burn.

East Miller Cove

The East Miller Cove Fire is just east of Walland, Tennessee, 16 miles south of Knoxville. On Sunday evening the incident management team reported it had burned 1,492 acres, an increase of 1,292 acres, threatening 100 structures north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Big Branch

The Big Branch Fire is in southeast Kentucky three miles south of Roxana and five miles northeast of Cumberland. It has burned 625 acres, an increase of 175 acres.

Oakwood 1 Fire

This fire is in Arkansas, listed at 468 acres, an increase of 278. No other information is available.

Chestnut Knob Fire
A firefighter on the Chestnut Knob Fire. InciWeb.

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For the latest articles at Wildfire Today about how smoke from the wildfires is affecting various locations in the South, check out the articles tagged “smoke”.

North Carolina to receive the worst of the smoke on Friday

Above: Forecast for wildfire smoke at 6 p.m. ET November 18, 2016. Created at 1 a.m. ET November 18, 2016.

Most of the eastern one-third of the United States will be experiencing some degree of wildfire smoke on Friday. But by far the heaviest concentrations are being created by the wildfires in the South. The winds on Friday will cause the much of the smoke to pass through areas in western Tennessee, northern Georgia, and western North Carolina.

Forecast for wildfire smoke at 1 p.m. ET November 18, 2016, created at 6:30 a.m. ET November 18, 2016.
Forecast for wildfire smoke at 1 p.m. ET November 18, 2016, created at 6:30 a.m. ET November 18, 2016.

Continue reading “North Carolina to receive the worst of the smoke on Friday”

Wildfire smoke forecast for November 17, 2016

Above: In this satellite photo taken during the afternoon of November 16, smoke from wildfires is clearly visible in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Smoke from wildfires in the South continues to drift across Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

When the Air Quality Index (AQI) is between 101 and 150 due to smoke (the brown color in the AirNow map below) persons with heart and lung disease, older adults, and children are at greater risk. If the AQI is 151 to 200 (red in the map below) according to AirNow everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

air quality index wildfire smoke

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smoke forecast
Forecast for smoke from vegetation fires at 1 p.m. ET, November 17, 2016. In addition to the wildfires in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, it appears that smoke from agricultural burning and prescribed fires in Louisiana and Arkansas is having a significant effect on the air in those two states as well as the midwest. Created at 7 a.m. ET November 17. NOAA.

Many of our readers in the comments sections are asking about the smoke conditions in various locations. Keep in mind that the distribution of smoke is entirely dependant on the location of the fires and the wind direction. A large fire may affect areas in almost any direction if the wind blows it that way. For instance, it can be clear in Gatlinburg, TN one day and the next day it can be smoky.

It can be difficult to predict the impacts of smoke more than a day or two into the future. For one thing, exact wind direction and speed are hard to forecast accurately. And fire activity is even trickier to predict. New fires can break out, older ones can run out of fuel, and the effectiveness of firefighters can vary.

wind rose Atlanta
The “wind rose” for Atlanta, November, 2012. The bars point to the direction the wind was coming from. Western Regional Climate Center.

As you can see in the image above, at Atlanta the most common wind directions during November of 2012 were from the northwest and east, but other directions are also represented.

For the latest articles at Wildfire Today about how smoke from the wildfires is affecting various locations in the South, check out the articles tagged “smoke”.

Update on six wildfires in the South, November 16, 2016

Above: The map shows the locations of some of the larger wildfires currently burning in Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Firefighters continue to battle dozens of fires in the southern United States while the residents in the area try to figure out how to live with the smoke.

Fire managers are hoping for a break in the weeks-long dry period, but through Friday at least they should expect more of the same. However there is a chance for rain on Saturday.

Here we will look at six of the larger fires in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Party Rock Fire

map Party Rock Fire
Perimeter of the Party Rock Fire in North Carolina, 3 a.m. ET November 16, 2016.

The Party Rock Fire has been burning just north of Lake Lure, North Carolina since November 5. It has blackened 4,480 acres, an increase of 736 acres, and forced evacuations at Bat Cave and residences on the east side of Hwy 9. In recent days it has been most active on the north and southwest sides.

Rock Mountain Fire

map Rock Mountain Fire Boteler Fire
Perimeters of the Boteler Fire in NC at 11:45 p.m. ET November 15, 2016, and the Rock Mountain Fire in GA at 2 a.m. ET November 16, 2016.

The Rock Mountain Fire has burned 6,747 acres in the northeast corner of Georgia, an increase of 1,263 acres over the previous 24 hours primarily on the northeast and west sides. The Type 1 Incident Management Team reports that 75 structures are threatened, but none have been destroyed.

Continue reading “Update on six wildfires in the South, November 16, 2016”

Wildfire smoke forecast for Tuesday, November 15

Above: Smoke from wildfires in the southern United States as photographed by a NASA satellite Tuesday afternoon, November 15, 2016; updated late Tuesday afternoon.

We checked several resources for predictions of where smoke from the wildfires in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia will be distributed on Tuesday. It looks like much of Georgia and South Carolina will be heavily affected, with concentrations in some areas of South Carolina reaching the “Very Unhealthy” level according to the animated map below.

Some areas in the midwest appear to be affected by smoke that blew in from fires in Canada.

Arkansas, Louisiana, and eastern Texas are also heavily contributing to the smoky skies.

Check AirNow.gov for current air quality information. Click on their map to zoom in for a closer look.

An air quality index of 201 to 300 is “Very Unhealthy”.

Continue reading “Wildfire smoke forecast for Tuesday, November 15”

Information and maps of five wildfires in Georgia and North Carolina, Nov. 14, 2016

Above: The map shows the location of some of the larger wildfires currently burning in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

There are still dozens of wildfires burning in the southern United States, primarily in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Firefighters have slowed the progress of many of them but others are still spreading. The weather on Sunday was not quite as conducive to extreme fire behavior, but most areas are still extremely dry and have not had significant precipitation in weeks.

The weather forecast for the Asheville, NC area through Saturday, November 12, calls for more of the same weather — moderate winds, daily high temperatures in the 60s, and relative humidities in the 80s at night and the 30s in the afternoon.

Below are some statistics for the active fires in the Southern Geographic Area:

  • 73 active fires
  • 109,563 cumulative acres
  • 103 hand crews assigned
  • 242 engines
  • 19 helicopters
  • 3,492 personnel

Here is a look at five of the more active blazes:

Party Rock Fire

map party rock fire
Map of the perimeter of the Party Rock Fire at 11 p.m. ET November 13, 2016.

The Party Rock Fire has been burning just north of Lake Lure, North Carolina since November 5. It has blackened 3,457 acres and required evacuations in the Chimney Rock community. On Saturday and Sunday it grew by 574 acres, with most of the additional acres being on the southwest and northwest sides.

Tellico Fire

map Tellico Fire
Map of the perimeter of the Tellico Fire at 11 p.m. ET November 13, 2016.

The Tellico Fire three miles south of Almond, North Carolina expanded by 3,791 acres over the weekend and now stretches across 13,676 acres after merging with another fire, the Ferebee Fire. It spotted across the Little Tennessee River to the east, but that spot was contained at about 100 acres. U.S. Highway 19 on the west side of the fire was closed on Sunday.

Continue reading “Information and maps of five wildfires in Georgia and North Carolina, Nov. 14, 2016”