Horton Fire Afternoon Update Wednesday Nov 23 (2016-11-23 22:56:06)

As of 2:00 PM 11/23/16 the Horton Fire is 65% contained and approximately 900 acres.

125 emergency response personnel from 26 agencies are actively responding. Fire crews have responded from as far away as New Jersey, Arizona, and Florida. Incident Commander Brent Triplett said, “It’s a very tough thing for first responders to be away from their homes and families around Thanksgiving, but our firefighters are a dedicated group of folks. We all just try to encourage each other as much as we can.”

The firefighting priorities are focused on protecting homes within and near the fire area. No structures have been burned and debris removal and burnout operations continue around homes. Burnout operations are being supported by multiple air resources.  Two 800 gallon Single Engine Air Tankers along with a helicopter are supporting crews on the ground.

Weather conditions continue to be favorable for fire operations. If operations continue successfully full containment may be reached by Friday.

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office is patrolling the fire perimeter. Members of the public who do not live in the area are asked to avoid the area.

A great thank you to the Watauga County community for stepping up to provide donations for the firefighters. No additional donations are needed. The community is encouraged to donate to the Red Cross.

AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department) and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System are advising residents and visitors to be aware of the possibility of smoke from Sampson/Horton fire in the southern portion of Watauga County.
State health officials from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recommend the following information. Wildfires present health risks for everyone, but wildfire smoke may cause eye irritation, cough, sore throat, chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, severe fatigue, or wheezing.  Wildfire smoke may make these symptoms worse in people who have respiratory allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, or angina. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing a worsening in your symptoms.
When air quality is poor, all residents (especially older adults, children, and those with heart or lung disease) are encouraged to follow these guidelines to prevent illness: 
  1. Limit prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors
  2. Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Do not smoke. Avoid vacuuming unless there is a HEPA filter vacuum or central vacuum system. Do not use air purifying ozone generators.
  3. Have a several-day supply of nonperishable groceries. Avoid cooking with gas, wood, or propane stoves if possible.
  4. Pay attention to local air quality reports; check newspaper and web site reports (www.ncorg).
  5. If possible, replace the air filter for your HVAC system with a pleated medium- or high-efficiency particle filter (rated MERV 8 or higher) to help filter out smoke and particulates.
  6. Use wet wipes or a damp mop to remove visible particles inside your home.
People with asthma or another lung condition should follow their doctor’s advice about medications and their respiratory management plan. A respiratory management plan involves tracking symptoms to determine when to use additional medications or seek medical treatment. These symptoms may include difficulty in breathing normally; cough with or without mucus; chest discomfort; and wheezing and shortness of breath.
Dr. Kevin Wolfe, Pulmonologist with Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists, recommends the following: 
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Run a humidifier in your home or business
  • Take care of pets; bring them indoors if possible
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of medications


Most healthy adults and children will not experience ill effects from smoke exposure. Certain sensitive populations may experience more symptoms from smoke exposure. Sensitive populations may include: 
  • Individuals with asthma or other respiratory disease
  • Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Individuals with airway hyper responsiveness
  • Individuals with cardiovascular disease
  • The elderly
  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • Smokers

View the full advisory, including air quality guide here:

For more information on protecting yourself from wildfire smoke exposure visit:

Stay up to date by following @FireHorton on twitter and the for any further updates or changes.