Notice

I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.

Photoblog

Photos from my photoblog.

Nothing is here yet

I haven't decided what to put here yet, so look at this pretty photo.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Macon County Commissioners
Continued Meeting for 12-05-2016


The Macon County Commissioners will be meeting briefly at 6:30 pm tonight to swear in the returning Commissioner Paul Higdon and new Commissioner Karl Gillespie, then elect a chairman and vice-chairman of the Board, examine the bond for elected critters in Macon County, then set forth a meeting agenda for the coming year.


MACON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CONTINUED SESSION
DECEMBER 5, 2016 — 6:30 PM.
AGENDA

. Oaths of office for Commissioner Higdon and Commissioner-elect Gillespie -
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge William H. Coward

. Call to order — County Manager

. Election of chairman — County Manager

. Election of vice-chairman

. Examination of the Official Bond for Public Officials of Macon County
. Consideration of the 2017 regular meeting schedule

. Adjourn



Live video of the meeting may be seen at the embedded player below. Once the meeting is over and video edited and processed, the live player will be replaced by the edited video. Until the meeting starts, you will see past live webcasts of events and meetings.










DAY SPONSOR

Carrion Tree Service is underwriting the daily weather briefing and public safety updates for today. they are a fully licensed and insured tree service, specializing 

in dangerous tree removal, view clearing, pruning, and crane services with a 24 Hour emergency response. 

Their phone number is 371-4718. They are located at 120 Depot Street.


They can handle all your tree removal needs in good or bad weather.



CROWD FUNDING OR DAY SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you receive value from what Macon Media provides to the community, please consider becoming a supporter and contribute at least a dollar a month.

If you have a business or event you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or underwriting coverage, send an email to editor@MaconMedia.com for more information. Serious inquiries only.

Thank You to the people who have been sending in donations and those businesses who are underwriting coverage of news and events. You have kept Macon Media online.


You can find out more information on how to do that and some of what I plan to accomplish if I reach certain levels of funding at >> https://www.patreon.com/MaconMedia 

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen
December 2016 Meeting


The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen will be meeting tonight at 7 pm in the lower level of town hall at 95 East Main Street. Due to the uncertainty of whether or not the County Commissioner meeting that has been scheduled to start at 6:30 pm, this meeting will not be webcast live. A video will be posted in the morning and added here so you can see and hear exactly what transpired during the meeting.

Macon Media has not received an agenda packet for this meeting. One will be posted here once it is obtained. The public agenda is posted below.

Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen
Agenda | December 5, 2016 | 7:00 p.m.

1. Call to Order- Mayor Bob Scott
2. Pledge of Allegiance- Vice Mayor Patti Abel
3. Adoption of the December 5, 2016 Town Board Agenda
4. Approval of November 7, 2016 Town Board Minutes
5. Public Session

6. New Business
A.) Presentation of Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Town of Franklin Audit- Martin Starnes Associate Kelly Gooderham
B.) Budget Amendments- Finance Officer Kyra Doster
C.) Approval of the 2017 Town Board Regular Meeting Schedule- Town Manager Summer Woodard
D.) Approval of the 2017 Town of Franklin Holiday Schedule- Town Manager Summer Woodard
E.) Discussion on Two (2) Hour Parking Limit on Main Street- Mayor Bob Scott

7. Legal
A.) Ordinance Amendment Regarding Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of Police Officers- Town Attorney John Henning Jr.
B.) Ordinance Amendment Regarding Fire Inspections by the Fire Chief- Town Attorney John Henning Jr
C.) Discussion on Ordinance Amendments- Town Attorney John Henning Jr

8. Announcements
A.) Town Employee Christmas Luncheon will be 12:00 p.m. Friday December 9, 2016 at Boiler Room
B.) Town Hall Offices will be closed December 23-27 in observance of the Christmas Holiday
C.) Town Hall Offices will be closed Monday January 2, 2017 in observance of New Year’s Day
D.) The next regularly scheduled Town Board meeting will be Tuesday January 03, 2017.
9. Adjournment




CROWD FUNDING OR DAY SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you receive value from what Macon Media provides to the community, please consider becoming a supporter and contribute at least a dollar a month.

If you have a business or event you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or underwriting coverage, send an email to editor@MaconMedia.com for more information. Serious inquiries only.

Thank You to the people who have been sending in donations and those businesses who are underwriting coverage of news and events. You have kept Macon Media online.


You can find out more information on how to do that and some of what I plan to accomplish if I reach certain levels of funding at >> https://www.patreon.com/MaconMedia 















Macon New Beginnings and CareNet Announce Partnership

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Macon New Beginnings, Inc. and Macon County CareNet are pleased to announce a formal partnership agreement.  Macon New Beginnings, Inc. and Macon County CareNet have been working together to address the nutritional needs of the homeless families and those families in danger of becoming homeless.  This agreement demonstrates our combined commitment to address the food security challenge for those homeless or nearly homeless.

Macon New Beginnings, Inc. is helping the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless in Macon County.  Macon New Beginnings, Inc. programs provide prevention services, crisis shelter, a weekly evening meal, homeless awareness and advocacy, and service referrals.  In 2015 Macon New Beginnings, Inc. served 92 homeless or nearly homeless men, women and children, and thus far in 2016 we served 154 homeless or nearly homeless.

Macon County CareNet programs strive to meet the nutritional needs of over 400 Macon County residents who are unable to provide for themselves due to crisis.  CareNet’s efforts are targeted at those for whom government and other forms of food assistance is not available.  CareNet addresses food assistance through children’s backpacks, Choice Food Pantry, and the Soup Café.  CareNet’s Thrift store sells slightly used clothing and household items in support of its mission.

For more information contact:

Macon New Beginnings, Inc.

131 Franklin Plaza Dr, Box 228

Franklin, NC 28734

828-202-3103

www.maconnewbeginnings.org

info@maconnewbeginnings.org

like us on Facebook

Macon County CareNet

130 Bidwell Street
Franklin, NC 28734
Phone: (828) 369-2642

www.maconcarenet.org

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wayah Bald After the Camp Branch Fire



Macon Media and The Franklin Press were given the opportunity to visit the Wayah Bald Fire Tower on the afternoon of Monday, November 28th and view the aftermath of the Camp Branch Fire and observe conditions along the Wayah Bald Road and Wayah Road. The images, sounds and video collected during that visit are posted here. An article by Tim Reaves will appear in The Wednesday, November 30, 2016 issue of The Franklin Press with his observations of the visit.

Public Information Officer Gil Knight chaperoned the visit and made sure we were safe during our tour and answered the many questions we had.

Video and photos are posted below.















DAY SPONSOR

Carrion Tree Service is underwriting the daily weather briefing and public safety updates for today. they are a fully licensed and insured tree service, specializing 

in dangerous tree removal, view clearing, pruning, and crane services with a 24 Hour emergency response. 

Their phone number is 371-4718. They are located at 120 Depot Street.

They can handle all your tree removal needs in good or bad weather.




CROWD FUNDING OR DAY SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you receive value from what Macon Media provides to the community, please consider becoming a supporter and contribute at least a dollar a month.

If you have a business or event you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or underwriting coverage, send an email to editor@MaconMedia.com for more information. Serious inquiries only.

Thank You to the people who have been sending in donations and those businesses who are underwriting coverage of news and events. You have kept Macon Media online.


You can find out more information on how to do that and some of what I plan to accomplish if I reach certain levels of funding at >> https://www.patreon.com/MaconMedia 







Morning Updates for 11-29-2016

Map showing electgrical outages in the region


So much for the rain bringing a quiet end to all this constant state of emergency and hazardous conditions. High winds last night blew transformers, knocked down trees and started a couple of wildfires near Harold Ledford Road near Otto and in Cullasaja that were quickly brought under control by local volunteer firefighters, members of the NC Forest Service and the US Forest Service.

The local forecast shows that we are due a period of rain, heavy at times, and more high winds, although hopefully not as strong as what we experienced last night. Over 350 Maconians are currently without electrical service in 24 separate outages. Duke Energy has all hands on deck and are restoring service as soon as they can safely do so.


Damage caused by the Camp Branch Fire on Wayah Bald 
Photo ©2016 Bobby Coggins

CAMP BRANCH FIRE


After last night's rain and rain that is expected over the next 36 hours, this fire should remain within current lines. The fire size is now estimated at 3,210 acres with about 55% containment. 293 Personnel are assigned to this fire. Rehab operations began yesterday and Rehab Specialists will be starting their work today For more info, see the InciWeb page for the Camp Branch Fire.


ROAD CLOSURES


At 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 28, Wayah Road (State Road 1310) and Forest Road 711 were opened to all traffic.


Forest Road 69 (Wayah Bald Tower Road) remains closed due to the proximity of the Camp Branch Fire and associated firefighting activity.
Travelers should drive with extra caution through the area that had been closed. Smoke may be present and some debris may roll onto the roadway.


You can keep tabs on Road Closures or hazards at the NCDOT TIMS (Traveller Information Service) page for Macon County at NCDOT TIMS page for Macon County.

You can find out more information about the Rock Mountain Fire and for fires in the North Carolina National Forest on Inciweb also.


Press Release from Macon County Emergency Services

November 28, 2016 (7:16 pm)

Warren Cabe, Director

Wildfire conditions have improved in Macon County over the past 24 hours. The area should receive some much needed rainfall over the next few days but we may experience some gusty wind conditions as well. Residents in the area of the Rock Mountain Fire in the Otto community who received pre-evacuation notices may now disregard those notices as there is no imminent threat to structures in the area. Crews will continue to monitor all of the fire locations for many days to ensure the safety of surrounding areas.

The State of Emergency in Macon County will remain in effect until enough significant rainfall saturates the area to decrease the danger from wildfire, containment is complete of all the previous wildfires, and any danger from some potentially heavy rainfall and high winds immediately following these fires is assessed. Macon County also banned outdoor burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling and that ban will also remain in effect until significant soaking rainfall reaches our area.

Mulberry Road and Wayah Road are now back open for normal traffic. Fire crews will continue to be in these areas so travelers are urged to use caution.

DAY SPONSOR


Carrion Tree Service is underwriting the daily weather briefing and public safety updates for today. they are a fully licensed and insured tree service, specializing in dangerous tree removal, view clearing, pruning, and crane services with a 24 Hour emergency response. 


Their phone number is 371-4718. They are located at 120 Depot Street.

They can handle all your tree removal needs in good or bad weather.


Escape from Gatlinburg


Wildfires in the Great Smokies National Park were driven by high winds into the Pigeon Forge,  Tellico Plains and Gatlinburg areas last night. WATE-TV broadcast for nearly three hours on Facebook about the developing situation.

Some people recorded footage of their escape and posted the videos to social media. Local TV Stations also took to social media to get out the word of what was happening. Some videos and links to news accounts of the situation are posted below. Keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. 





Michael Luciano recorded his escape from his community through a hellish landscape. Graphic language advisory, especially at the end when he encounters someone who is stopped in the middle of the road.




CROWD FUNDING OR DAY SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you receive value from what Macon Media provides to the community, please consider becoming a supporter and contribute at least a dollar a month.

If you have a business or event you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or underwriting coverage, send an email to editor@MaconMedia.com for more information. Serious inquiries only.

Thank You to the people who have been sending in donations and those businesses who are underwriting coverage of news and events. You have kept Macon Media online.


You can find out more information on how to do that and some of what I plan to accomplish if I reach certain levels of funding on Patreon. If 1,000 people gave a dollar a month, that would put Macon Media on the path to being able to buy better equipment, pay for a website, take on advertising and hire people to make this citizen journalist effort what it should be...a source of local real time news for Macon County and western North Carolina.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Helicopter Flies Infrared Mapping Mission of Camp Branch Fire

N25HX IR Mapping Mission on the Camp Branch Fire





A helicopter takes off from the Macon County Airport to employ infrared sensors in mapping the Camp Branch Fire.

This data, once interpreted, placed on maps and handed off to command staff and mission planners allows them to accurately locate hotspots and fire perimeters. These men and women can then plan the next day's firefighting activities with input from meteorologists and fire behavior experts..





Nantahala Branch Wildfires Update
Afternoon of Nov 25, 2016



Here is the afternoon update from the Command Post in Franklin, detailing the Camp Branch and Tellico Fire Operations for today.


Incident Resources (for the Nantahala ICP)


10 crews, 39 engines, 7 helicopters, 2 tankers, 11 dozers, 7 water tender, 1 skidgine, 631 total personnel, 34,619 total acres

Initial Attack

Yesterday, on the three districts of the Nantahala National Forest that the Blue Team has initial-attack responsibility for-Cheoah, Tusquitee, and Nantahala-there were no new fire starts. Crews remain positioned around the districts to respond to any new fires. They are also regularly monitoring the twenty-three fires that are in patrol status.

Fires in Patrol Status


The following fires are being patrolled regularly to ensure containment lines are holding: Buck Creek (6 ac.), Falls (NA), Grape Cove (11 ac.), Moses Creek (30 ac.), Jones Gap (8 ac.), Jarrett Knob (NA), Wine Spring (93 ac.), Mulberry (1 ac.), Moss Knob(7 ac.), May Branch (175 ac.), Boardtree (0.5 ac.), Charley Creek (6 ac.), Nick (0.2 ac.), Ridge Gap (1 ac.), Ferebee (now Tellico), Cliffside (110 ac.), Whitewater (23 ac.), Howard Gap (0.2 ac.), Knob (1,130 ac.), Muskrat (104 ac.), Bullpen (6 ac.), Jones Creek (1.3 ac), Cathey Gap (123 ac.), Dick's Creek (729 ac.).

Camp Branch Fire



On Wednesday, when the fire was so active and making a run up the east side of Wayah Bald, it spotted approximately three-quarters of a mile to the north in the Ray Branch drainage. Because the infrared flight was cancelled Wednesday night and rain likely tamped down smoke, the spot fire was not detected until yesterday afternoon when an aerial observer noticed it during a helicopter reconnaissance flight. The spot fire is approximately 5 acres and is south of the Licklog Gap area, where crews are constructing indirect fireline. Also during Wednesday's run up Wayah Bald, the fire burned the historic Wayah Bald Tower's wooden roof and destroyed a private cabin.

Wednesday night's precipitation did have a moderating affect yesterday on fire behavior, which consisted primarily of creeping and smoldering. Crews took advantage of the weather working in their favor and made significant progress. The tree-felling crew removed numerous hazard trees, particularly along Wayah Road (SR 1310). The structure-protection group worked to secure private residences south of Wayah Bald along Wayah Road and in Bear Cove. Crews constructed approximately a quarter-mile of indirect handline. They also completed approximately 5 miles of dozer line construction and existing road improvements.

Today, crews expect to complete indirect-fireline construction. On the west side, the fireline extends from Forest Road (FR) 69 north to Rocky Bald Ridge and to FR 379B, eventually ending at Licklog Gap. On the east side, the fireline goes north from Locust Tree Branch Road to Ray Branch and then northwest to Licklog Gap. The structure-protection group will continue to monitor private residences north of Wayah Road (SR 1310). Aerial support will be available to firefighters on the ground should they need it.


Size: 1,463 acres 

Containment: 20 percent 
Start Date: November 22


Following are maps that show a little detail in each sector of the fire so you can see where the fire was as of late yesterday and to see where the USFS has decided to make a stand on the fire, taking into account firefighter safety, structure protection and the rough terrain. Click on any of the images to enlarge them for better viewing.




Here is a video sent to Macon Media showing the progress of the Camp Branch Fire on Wednesday night over a 5 hour time period from 6:14 pm to just before midnight. 





Tellico Fire

The Tellico Fire's containment lines have been tested several times and are holding, and at 95-percent contained, the fire will be soon put into patrol status. The eleven firefighters with four engines who remain assigned to the fire are patrolling, mopping up, and blowing leaves off containment lines where needed. They are also working with an incident resource advisor to identify repair needs in areas affected by fire-suppression activities. Crews will begin the repair work in the coming days.


Size: 13,874 acres
Containment: 95 percent
Start Date: November 3




Weather and Fire Behavior


A high-pressure system slowly building eastward will be over the fire area this weekend. Despite a drying trend, critical fire weather is unlikely as cloudiness and mild temperatures are expected to prevail. This morning's dense fog is not likely to lift until late morning. The maximum temperature should be in the low 60s with winds up to 11 mph and a minimum relative humidity in the 50s. The incident meteorologist's models are not showing significant precipitation until early December.

Moderate weather will correlate with moderate fire behavior. Firefighters are very unlikely to experience the large, fast-moving flame fronts that they did on Wednesday. However, as the sun dries grasses and downed leaves, twigs, and branches on exposed southern slopes, fire activity could increase slightly in those areas.

Closures in 
Macon County

Due to the Camp Branch Fire, a segment of Wayah Road (SR 1310) is closed to through traffic; residents who live in the closed section are allowed access to their property. Westbound traffic is stopped at Enloe Farms. Eastbound traffic is being stopped at the Wayah Bald Road junction. Northbound traffic on Crawford Road is being turned around at the junction with Wayah Rd (SR 1310). The road will be reopened as soon as travel safe for the public.


Nantahala National Forest


Forest Road 711 is closed from Wayah Road (SR 1310) to Cold Springs Road (SR 1397). The Dirty John Shooting Range is not accessible.
The Bartram Trail is closed from Harrison Gap at FR 713 (Shingletree Road) west to Nantahala Lake and from the trailhead at SR 106 to SR 1643 (Hickory Knoll Road).


The following trails are closed: Wesser Creek, Whitewater Falls, and Foothills from SR 281 to the Bad Creek access.


An area closure order (No. 08-11-09-17-02) for the Tusquitee Ranger District is in effect for lands, trails, and roads in the area surrounding the Boteler Fire. To view a map and complete list of closed roads and trails, go to tinyurl.com/zoq4lm8.


An area closure order (No. 08-11-00-17-03) for the Tusquitee and Nantahala Ranger Districts is in effect for lands, trails, and roads southeast of the Boteler Fire. The closed area extends south from Highway 64 to the Georgia border and includes the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. The Appalachian Trail is closed from the Nantahala Outdoor Center south to the Georgia border. To view a map and complete list of closed roads and trails, go to tinyurl.com/jmxv7dv.

















Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rock Mountain Fire Information Meeting in Otto
November 22, 2016

Otto Community Building Sign

The Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3 (PNW-3) held a Fire information meeting last night in the Otto Community Building. The meeting was standing room only as residents heard from the team managing the Rock Mountain Fire and representatives from other cooperating agencies. The video, closures that are in effect and some fire states are posted below.




Otto Fire Information Meeting 
Panoramic shot of room from front 
Photo by Bobby Coggins


Rock Mountain Fire 
Map of northeast Sector with Stats

Rock Mountain Fire Stats
16,698 acres
30% contained
Between 450 and 500 personnel are working the fire

The fire was discovered on Nov 9th along Tallulah River Road in the STraw Mountain area of Rabun County and the cause is currently under investigation. The fire has been continually spreading for up to 20 ti 24 hours and day and has travelled between a half to three quarters of a mile a day with some days up to a mile or more in a 24 hour period.



Rock Mountain Fire 
Nov 22nd 
Photo by James Price of PNW3

Rock Mountain Fire Objectives

•Prevent loss and/or damage to private lands on the flanks of the fire through a combination of direct attack, use of natural barriers in combination with burnout operations and point protection around threatened structures.
•Develop suppression actions on the northeast flank that consider wilderness/roadless values and threatened/sensitive species.

The team managing the fire described the history of the fire an their strategy of fighting the fire and their plans for the future. Lines are being constructed using existing features, some of them near homes.



Mulberry Road

Since Tuesday Morning November 22, the following roads have been closed for public and firefighter safety:

• Patterson Gap Road from Betty’s Creek Road to Poplar gap (USFS road)
• Betty’s Creek Road from Patterson Gap to the North Carolina state line (Rabun County)
• Mulberry from the North Carolina state line to Pagonia Drive/Beasley Gap (Macon County)



NANTAHALA NATIONAL FOREST CLOSURES

Major closures on the Nantahala include:
•Southern Nantahala Wilderness (North Carolina)
•Nantahala National Forest lands east of Eagle Fork community to Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary
•Nantahala National Forest lands south of US 64 and Allison Creek Road (SR 1448), to the Southern Nantahala Wilderness boundary (including the •Standing Indian and Hurricane Creek areas)
•Nantahala National Forest lands west of the Nantahala Mountains ridge from Mooney Gap to Wallace Gap, and west to the Southern Nantahala •Wilderness boundary (including the Appalachian Trail, side trails, and shelter sites)
•Nantahala National Forest lands north of US64 and east of State Road 1330 to Nantahala Ranger District boundary
•Nantahala National Forest lands south and east of State Road 1307 from State Road 1330 to US64 and the Nantahala Ranger District Boundary
•Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness
•Wesser Creek Trail
•Chunky Gal Trail
•Whitewater Falls Trail and portions of Foothills Trail
•Benton MacKaye Trail east of Beech Gap

Appalachian Trail is closed from Dicks Creek Gap/U.S. 76 in Georgia (mile 69.9) to the Nantahala River/US19/US74 in North Carolina (mile 137.1).

Call the US Forest Service office for more information on road and trail closures: 828-257-4200


ARSON REPORTING

North Carolina is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to be issued to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are responsible for setting wildfires in western North Carolina. Anyone having information concerning these wildfires should contact Macon County Crimestoppers at (828) 349-2600 or Jackson County Crimestoppers at (828) 631-1125.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking information regarding arson fires on Indian Lands of North Carolina through the WeTip Program. Up to $10,000 is being offered through this anonymous program. WeTip can be contacted through their website: www.wetip.com or by calling their hotline at (800) 47-ARSON ((800) 472-7766).

BURNING RESTRICTIONS

A total fire ban is in effect for all lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests; however, commercially available heating equipment, portable lanterns, or stoves that use gas or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed. More information is at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd524246.

A North Carolina Forest Service ban on all open burning in all 25 Western NC counties is still in effect. Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The issuance of any new permits also has been suspended until the ban is lifted.

HUNTER INFORMATION

Rifle hunting season begins today in Western NC. For those hunting in the National Forests, many areas have temporary Forest closures. Contact your local ranger district to find specific information about closures, as closures may not be clear if traveling off roads and trails. To ensure your safety and the safety of our firefighters, please observe all closures and fire restrictions. For updated hunting closure information visit http://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Where-to-Hunt/Public-Places




CROWD FUNDING OR DAY SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you receive value from what Macon Media provides to the community, please consider becoming a supporter and contribute at least a dollar a month.

If you have a business or event you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or underwriting coverage, send an email to editor@MaconMedia.com for more information. Serious inquiries only.

Thank You to the people who have been sending in donations and those businesses who are underwriting coverage of news and events. You have kept Macon Media online.


You can find out more information on how to do that and some of what I plan to accomplish if I reach certain levels of funding at >> https://www.patreon.com/MaconMedia 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fire Information Meeting in Rabun County
Monday, November 21, 2016


Beginning at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday Morning November 22, the following roads will be closed for public and firefighter safety:
• Patterson Gap Road from Betty’s Creek Road to Poplar gap (USFS road)
• Betty’s Creek Road from Patterson Gap to the North Carolina state line (Rabun County)
• Mulberry from the North Carolina state line to Pagonia Drive/Beasley Gap (Macon County)




Residents of Rabun and Macon Counties attended an informational meeting on the evening of Monday, November 21st, held by the Incident Management Team led by Noel Livingston and Cooperating Agencies in Georgia and North Carolina. The current fire size was last measured by an infrared flight as being 13,542 acres and the fire lines being constructed will probably limit the fire size to around 30,000 acres, with the number one priority being the protection of life and property.

Macon Media was the only media outlet from Macon County present at the meeting and a video of the entire meeting is embedded below. The excerpt above details the expected extent of the fire. Personnel reported the fire has been moving at half to three quarters of a mile per day in locations where no fire lines have been constructed.  The southern lines around the fire are secure and the overall strategy has been to let the fire spread into the wilderness in the north while, due to limited resources, firefighters focused on saving homes on the western end of the fire, most notably near Tate City.


The next focus will be on protecting homes on the east end of the fire, near Bettys Creek Patterson Road and Mulberry Road, where some preliminary construction of fire lines has already been started. The teams that saved the homes near Tate City will be moved into those areas starting on Tuesday, Nov 22nd.

Another Fire Information Meeting may be held in Macon County after Thanksgiving if conditions warrant.




**11-22-2016 at 1:36 am** 


The USFS have uploaded new data regarding the Rock Mountain Fire, including a new map based on an Infrared mapping flight referenced during the public meeting. A PDF of the results is embedded below.

Note that the estimated fire size is now 14,757 acres. This information hasn't been added to  the Inciweb site as of the time it has been posted here.






When more detailed maps are uploaded, they will be added here as well.

Map showing fire progression by day. [Click for full size image]


Map showing fire progression by day



Operations Map of Rock Mountain Fire with annotations added via sticky notes for frequency list and location of the Jones Creek Fire. The sticky notes cannot be read unless the map is downloaded.












Macon County Emergency Management Press Release on Rock Mountain Fire


Press Release

For Immediate Release

Macon County Emergency Services

November 21, 2016

Warren Cabe, Director

Extreme fire conditions will continue to push the Rock Mountain Fire into portions of southern Macon County over the next several days. The fire is now over 12,779 acres.

Smoke and flames will be visible from various portions of Macon County, especially the Otto Community, through the end of the week. Crews will be in the area evaluating structures for defensible space from the potential fire spread and traffic in the Mulberry Road area should be limited to local traffic only. Residents of the area are being advised of potential threats from the wildfire, and although NO evacuations have been ordered, they should remain aware of changing conditions and be prepared to leave the area if necessary. Fire crews will be constantly evaluating the conditions and will be dispatched to any structures that might possibly be threatened as the need arises. The most dangerous threat to the area will probably occur mid to late week.

There will be a community meeting concerning the Rock Mountain Fire tonight, Monday, November 21, at the Rabun County Courthouse, 25 Courthouse Square, Clayton, Georgia, at 6:00 PM. You can also follow the US Forest Service – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ChattOconeeNF/ to stay informed of this fire’s activity.

Please stay tuned to local radio stations, CodeRed messaging and Macon County Public Health Facebook page for up-to-date information. If you are not already registered for CodeRed alerts, please visit the “For Residents” section on the Macon County Website (www.maconnc.org) or https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/692F85D5FF07.



Cartoogechaye Elementary Students Express Thanks to Firefighters



This just in from the Macon County School System:


Ms. Sheila McClure, teacher assistant at Cartoogechaye Elementary School, began a great community service act for the firefighters. She asked students at Cartoogechaye to write thank you letters to the fireman. So far, Ms. McClure has taken 100 thank you letters that have been placed in the firefighters' lunch sacks as well as 76 letters for the firefighters to mail home to their families. The students at Cartoogechaye will continue to write letters to be given to firefighters. Ms. McClure knows first-hand what the firefighters face. Her husband Richard is a firefighter with the US Forest Service. Thank you Ms. McClure and the students and staff at Cartoogechaye Elementary for giving thanks to these firefighters! We appreciate each and every one!




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dry Falls Over the Years

Dry Falls in Wetter Times



Dry Falls has been one of my favorite subjects to shoot and one I don't get to shoot enough. Over the past few months, our region has been  experiencing a dry spell for rain and we're under drought conditions complete with wildfires.



People have remarked the current waterflow at the waterfall is the lowest they've seen. Here is a collection of videos taken over the years to remind us of the differing conditions at the local landmark:


July 2009




July 2010




September 2010




January 2013



January 2014



March 2014 (You'll need those Red/Blue Glasses to watch it)



November 2016
(Since the Facebook Video will not embed properly, check it out on Facebook)





Read More:

A regional blogger posted an account of a visit to the falls in 1873 by Edward King.

Daily Weather Briefing for Macon County
Sunday, November 20, 2016

National Weather Map 
Courtesy National Weather Service


**MACON COUNTY WEATHER BRIEFING FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2016**
*note* This is the new format of the weather briefing until the wildfires have been brought under control.



OVERVIEW

Dry northwest winds will persist across the region today as cooler air spills into the area. Dry high pressure will steadily build east into the region through Tuesday. Another fast moving cold front will cross the area Wednesday night bringing us less than a tenth of an inch of rain and dry conditions returning through late week.


ROCK MOUNTAIN FIRE

Leaf blowers being deployed on the Rock Mountain Fire
Leaf blowers being deployed on the Rock Mountain Fire


The fire has reached the Appalachian Trail and appears to be holding. The fire is behaving as expected and is not jumping the lines when it meets them.

The fire size is 11,287 acres with about 30% containment. with 482 personnel working the incident.

Frequencies

Command 7 - 167.425 Mhz
Tac 4 - 168.450 Mhz
Air to Ground - 170.000

NANTAHALA DISTRICT FIRES

Our wildfires are mostly contained and quiet. Crews are beginning to demobilize and head back home or to other assignments. A new command group will be transitioning in to the Nantahala District before Thanksgiving.

Frequencies

Nantahala ICP - 171.475 Mhz (Command 11/12/13/15)
Command 7 - 164.8375 Mhz
Command 8 - 170.4125
Tac 6 - 168.250 Mhz (Southeast Tellico Fire and Muskrat Fire)
Tac 1 - 168.050 (Nightshift)
A/G Primary - 166.675 Mhz (Primary Air to Ground)


BURN BAN AND INCREASED FIRE DANGER

We are still under a burn ban and the winds will be blowing again today. Please put off burning your brush piles and debris until we get a substantial rain. There are none in the forecast for the next ten days.



THREE DAY OUTLOOK


Sunday

Sunny with highs near the upper 40s, but will feel like it is in the upper 30s to lower 40s due to the wind. Winds will be out of the northwest 10 to 15 mph, gusting to 25 mph.

Sunday Night

Clear with lows near 20. Winds will be out of the northwest 5 to 10 mph, calming after midnight.


Monday

Sunny with highs near the mid 50s. winds out of the northwest.


Monday Night

Mostly clear with lows in the mid to upper 20s. Winds out of the northwest calming before midnight.


Tuesday

Sunny with highs near 60. Winds out of the northwest switching around to come from the south and southeast in the morning. This could push the smoke plume from the Rock Branch Fire our way.


Tuesday Night

Partly cloudy with lows near freezing and light winds out of the south.

HAZARDS

The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement on the increased wildfire danger today due to dry air, drought conditions and high winds. Winds are expected to be in the 10 to 15 mph range today, with gusts as high as 25 mph. They've also issued an Air Quality Alert for a Code Orange  Day for bad air quality. I think most of us will have good air conditions unless you live near one of the wildfires in the region.


***Special Weather Statement***
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
1220 AM EST SUN NOV 20 2016

...INCREASED FIRE DANGER THROUGH THIS EVENING...

A VERY DRY AIRMASS WILL CONTINUE TO FILTER INTO THE REGION TODAY BEHIND A DEPARTING COLD FRONT. BREEZY TO WINDY CONDITIONS WILL LINGER ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS AND FOOTHILLS TODAY AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES WILL LIKELY DIP TO NEAR CRITICAL VALUES. THESE CONDITIONS WILL KEEP FIRE DANGER AT INCREASED LEVELS THROUGH THIS EVENING. THE WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL COMBINE WITH EXTREMELY DRY FUELS CAUSED BY THE PROLONGED DROUGHT TO PRODUCE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR THE RAPID SPREAD AND GROWTH OF WILDFIRES. ANY BURNING IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED.


POLLEN/AIR QUALITY

Pollen levels are expected to remain low today and low tomorrow, with ragweed the main source of pollen. Since the last hard frost, sources of pollen in our area have dwindled. However, smoke from area fires have been worse than the pollen ever gets.

The local air quality will probably be good for most people, with the possible exception of those living near the Rock Branch Fire. Some drift smoke from that wildfire may get pushed into the Otto area. The rest of the county should remain relatively free from smoke today.

Here is the official forecast for Air Quality:

Map of Air Quality Forecast for the region


The National Weather Service has issued a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for Macon County today. Here is the text:

1223 AM EST SUN NOV 20 2016

...AIR QUALITY ALERT IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT...

THE NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IN RALEIGH NC HAS ISSUED A CODE ORANGE AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY FOR FINE PARTICULATES...  IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT.

NUMEROUS WILDFIRES CONTINUE TO BURN ACROSS WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA PRODUCING SMOKE PLUMES WHICH ARE CREATING UNHEALTHY BREATHING CONDITIONS.

AN AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY MEANS THAT FINE PARTICULATE CONCENTRATIONS WITHIN THE REGION MAY APPROACH OR EXCEED UNHEALTHY STANDARDS.

For a display of the most recent air quality conditions throughout the remainder of this afternoon, please visit the US EPA's AIRNOW.gov web site.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION... PLEASE VISIT THE NORTH CAROLINA DIVISION OF AIR QUALITY WEB SITE AT WWW.NCAIR.ORG/AIRAWARE/FORECAST/.




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time posted 6:00 am on Nov 20, 2016

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