ROSEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — The fire near Grandfather Mountain that began on Christmas Eve and covered approximately two acres has now expanded to 700 acres, double the area that was burning on Monday, according to the U.S. 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 more than 80 acres. Late Sunday morning the fire had exceeded 350 acres and was just 10 percent contained.
The fire is at Grandmother Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest and is 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 approximately 350 acres as of Monday afternoon but had doubled to 700 acres by Tuesday morning. The fire was 20 percent contained on Monday and containment remained the same on Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
According to officials, the fire is now backing downhill from Timber Ridge to the south and east. Fire crews have been focusing their efforts so far on securing the fireline on the northwest side in order to protect homes and property in Roseboro.
Firefighters are monitoring the fire as it continues to spread within the Wilderness Study Area.
“Fire managers are monitoring the fire as it backs down to Lost Cove Creek and Gragg Prong, which will provide containment lines to the south and east,” the USFS wrote on Facebook.
Higher humidity, lack of rain, and piles of leaf litter are all fueling the fire, according to USFS officials.
“Higher humidity conditions have moderated fire behavior, and the fire is primarily burning through leaf litter at low to moderate intensities,” the USFS posted on Facebook. “Increases in acreage as of this update are due to not only to this fire spread, but improved mapping of the fire perimeter. The fire is expected to continue to grow within the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area until significant rain is received. No homes 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 Mountains to Sea Trail along Gragg Prong between Roseboro and Pineola Roads.
Currently battling the fire are 18 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, along with crews from Collettsville, Linville and the North Carolina Forest Service.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities previously said they believed the fire was “human-caused.”
The public is being asked to avoid recreating in the Lost Cove Wilderness Study Area until the fire is fully contained.