Linville – Firefighters continue to battle a blaze in WNC that was first reported on Christmas Eve. The Linville Volunteer Fire Department alerted officials of a large wildfire on the Blue Ridge Parkway Side of Grandfather Mountain in the Roseboro area on Friday, Dec. 24. As of Dec. 26, the North Carolina Forest Service reported that the flames have ravaged 350 acres and is 10 percent contained.
Fire crews monitored the fire overnight on Christmas Eve. US Forest Service units returned to the scene on Christmas morning.
“Firefighters worked on Christmas Day to construct firelines for protection of homes along Roseboro Road,” a press release from the U.S. Forest Service said. “Helicopters were used for water drops to reduce the intensity of the fire near these firelines.”
The Linville VFD added that equipment is in place to “protect residents and their homes.” U.S. Forest Service officials say that the fire is in a remote part of the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area, 10 miles southeast of the town of Linville. Officials named the blaze the “Lost Cove Fire.” Though it is spreading by the day, the fire is not immediately threatening any homes, yet.
“The fire has spread overnight, but as of this morning it was not immediately threatening any homes, which is our primary concern,” Linville Volunteer Fire Department wrote on Facebook. “We are continuing to monitor the increasing winds and the fire’s condition.”
As of Dec. 26, U.S. Forest Service officials closed several trails.
Emergency closures are in place for the following trails:
• Timber Ridge Trail (TR #261)
• Lost Cove Loop Trail (TR #262)
• Huntfish Falls Trail (TR #263)
• Darkside Cliffs Trail (TR #272)
• The Mountains to Sea Trail along Gragg Prong between Roseboro and Pineola Roads
“As firefighters focus on protecting resources on the northwest end of the fire, the fire is expected to continue to burn to the south and east into the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area along Timber Ridge. 20 firefighters from the US Forest Service and North Carolina Forest Service are responding. The response effort is supported by local fire departments from Collettsville and Linville,” USFS said in a Facebook post.
The root of the flames is still under investigation but USFS suspects that the fire was human-caused. They are urging the public to avoid the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area.
“We would especially like to thank the firefighters for their response and sacrifices over the Christmas Holiday…Please be cautious with fire as conditions will remain unseasonably warm and dry throughout the area over the next several days,” USFS said in a Facebook post.
Sunday, Dec. 26’s objective for firefighters was to “complete fireline construction on the northwest side of the fire for protection of private property. Burn out operations are planned to reduce fuels between the active fire and the firelines to slow fire spread and increase containment,” said a press release from USFS.
The Linville Volunteer Fire Department took to social media to ask the public for their continued thoughts and prayers.
“Light rain fell for just a few minutes on the Roseboro Community, although it was not enough to stop the wildfire, which continues to advance and shift with the winds,” the fire department wrote on Facebook. “LVFD and the NC Forest Service are still in position overnight to monitor the residents and homes of this area.”
LVFD officials said that the fire is expected to burn to the south and east along Timber Ridge. They expect that the fire will continue to grow until significant rainfall occurs.