Fires and Drought Lead To State Of Emergency Declaration (2016-11-11 14:40:02)

A state of emergency is currently in effect for 25 counties in Western North Carolina, including Watauga and Avery, due to dry conditions and increased fire danger.

There are 20 separate wildfires active in the western part of the state and smoke has been drifting into the this week. The high fire danger has resulted in burning bans in Western North Carolina. Yesterday Gov. Pat McCrory declared the state of emergency, citing states of emergency declared by Macon and Rutherford officials, as well as evacuation orders issued in Clay, Graham, Macon Rutherford, and Swain counties.  

Locally, the state of emergency includes the High Country counties Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties, as well as Caldwell County.

Burning bans remain in effect across western North Carolina. Bans are also in place all along the Blue Ridge Parkway in both North Carolina and Virginia.

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have implemented a TOTAL FIRE BAN. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire (including charcoal based fire whether in a grill or not) is NOT ALLOWED anywhere in the National Forests, even in fee-area campgrounds. This is an update from the restrictions put in place in October. The restriction is in place until further notice.

The use of commercially available portable lanterns, stoves, or heating equipment that utilize gas or pressurized liquid fuel is allowed.