ROSEBORO, North Carolina (WNCN) – The fire near Grandfather Mountain that started on Christmas Eve and covered about two acres has now spread to 700 acres, double the area that was burning Monday, according to the US Forest Service.
The Lost Cove wildfire was discovered around 9:40 a.m. on Christmas Eve, according to the USFS.
By Christmas Day, the fire had grown to over 80 acres. Late Sunday morning the fire had exceeded 350 acres and was only 10% contained.
The fire is at Grandmother Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest and about a mile from the base of Grandfather Mountain.
The wildfire is near Bee Mountain in a remote part of the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area, 10 miles southeast of Linville, officials said. The fire remained at around 350 acres Monday afternoon, but had doubled to 700 acres by Tuesday morning. The fire was 20% contained on Monday and the lockdown remained the same on Tuesday, US Forest Service officials said.
Officials say the fire is now receding from Timber Ridge to the south and east. Fire crews have focused their efforts thus far on securing the fire line on the northwest side to protect homes and properties in Roseboro.
Firefighters monitor the blaze as it continues to spread through the wilderness study area.
“Firefighters are monitoring the blaze as it retreats toward Lost Cove Creek and Gragg Prong, which will provide containment lines to the south and east,” the USFS wrote on Facebook.
According to USFS officials, higher humidity, lack of rain and piles of fallen leaves are fueling the fire.
“Higher humidity conditions moderated fire behavior, and the fire is burning primarily through leaf litter at low to moderate intensities,” the USFS posted on Facebook. “The increases in area from this update are due not only to this fire spread, but to better mapping of the fire perimeter. It is expected that the fire will continue to spread in the area of survey of the wilderness of Lost Cove until significant rains are received No houses or structures are threatened.
Several trails have been closed in the area:
- Timber Ridge Trail (TR #261)
- Lost Cove Loop Trail (TR #262)
- Huntfish Falls Trail (TR #263)
- Darkside Cliffs Trail (TR#272)
- The Mountain to Sea Trail along Gragg Prong between Roseboro and Pineola Roads.
Currently, 18 U.S. Forest Service firefighters are battling the blaze, along with crews from Collettsville, Linville and the North Carolina Forest Service.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities have previously said they believe the fire was “man-made”.
The public is urged to avoid recreation in the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area until the fire is fully contained.