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.
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.
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.
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.
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