The Hurricane Ridge Fire grew to 500 acres, with fire growth fueled by dry conditions and low humidity. Increased acreage was also due to fire managers ability to get more accurate mapping of the remote fire area. Firefighting efforts have increased containment of the fire to 25%. Rainfall is expected to moderate conditions overnight tonight and tomorrow.
The Hurricane Creek Fire has been burning since November 23 along Interstate 40 in the Harmon Den area on the US Forest Service Appalachian Ranger District in Haywood County, NC. The fire is located east of Interstate 40, south of Cold Springs Road (Exit 7) and north of Hurricane Creek Road. The fire is spreading east through the remote Hurricane Creek Drainage.
Today, firefighters are conducting burn out operations to remove remaining fuel between the active fire and the fireline. Burn out operations help secure firelines with the goal of increasing containment. Smoke from burnout operations is expected to impact northeast Haywood County and western Madison County this afternoon and evening. Southernly winds will push smoke toward the Max Patch area and communities of Meadow Fork and Spring Creek.
Firefighters are also continuing fire line construction and improvement along the eastern edge of the fire. Structure protection on cabins within the larger contingency area is being conducted in cooperation with the NC Forest Service. No structures have been damaged at this point, and risk to structures remains minimal.
The US Forest Service has issued an emergency closure for Haynes Road (FSRD #233). Brady Road (FSRD #3526) also remains closed.
86 firefighters from the US Forest Service and North Carolina Forest Service are responding. The response effort is supported by Haywood County Emergency Management and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT). The public is asked to avoid recreating in the area as to not interfere with firefighting operation. Travelers on Interstate 40 may see smoke along the roadway, particularly in the mornings and evenings. The cause of the Hurricane Ridge Fire remains under investigation.