From Local 3 News: The Collett Ridge fire in Cherokee County, North Carolina has burned nearly 4,000 acres of land. It is in a remote
From Local 3 News: The Collett Ridge fire in Cherokee County, North Carolina has burned nearly 4,000 acres of land.
It is in a remote area of the Nantahala National Forest, just a few miles south of Andrews.
Despite how far the fire has traveled, it is burning at low to moderate intensity.
Which is a good thing, because it can clear out underbrush and can help reduce the intensity of future wildfires.
Adrianne Rubiaco with the U.S Forest Service said the fire started back on October 23.
Rubiaco said a tree was struck by lightning, causing it to catch on fire, it then fell to the ground and sparked the wildfire.
The dry conditions have caused the fire to spread as far as it has.
As of now, the nearly four-thousand-acre wildfire is zero-percent contained.
“Based on where the fire is, that steep, remote rugged terrain it makes it very difficult and dangerous for firefighters to go in direct and contain this fire. So, therefore we have to go kind of a bigger box picture around the fire and that includes using creeks or roads in order to provide that break in fuel or vegetation on the ground to help keep that fire contained to an area,” Rubiaco said.
Firefighters are working around the clock to ensure nearby communities are not harmed by the fire.
“The communities near the northern side of the fire, includes the communities along Junaluska Road and firefighters have been working on providing that structure protection and preparation around those communities. So far, those operations are going very well and they include back burning, so burning all of that unburned vegetation between the homes and the fires forefront,” Rubiaco said.
No one has been hurt and no one has had to be evacuated.
Rubiaco said air crafts are being used to help slow the progression of the fire, 53-thousand gallons of water and retardant have been used.
“Right now, the fire is burning more on the national forest land, but with the communities nearby we definitely recommend them to stay up-to-date. They are doing a good job it seems in staying in contact with us. We do have a public information line that we staff from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Rubiaco said.
We will bring you the latest information on this fire on air and online.
Cherokee County community members should sign up for alerts related to the fire.
You can text 888777 and text your zip code.