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Forest service says NC wildfire not under control

By Associated Press
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:22:08 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 20 2013 06:47:27 AM CST
BURKE COUNTY -

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service say it may take several more days before a wildfire in Linville Gorge is contained.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (http://avlne.ws/1aEdmqF) last weekend's rain helped slow the blaze in Pisgah National Forest in Burke County. But Forest Service spokeswoman Deborah Walker said strong winds Tuesday and dry conditions predicted through Thursday will make bringing the fire under control more difficult.

As of Monday, the fire covered 2,275 acres.

Walker said nearly 200 firefighters were working the blaze, double the number at the site last week. She said firefighters are focusing on building containment lines, and hope to have the fire under control by Friday.

No injuries have been reported. Walker said a hunting cabin is in danger but is not immediately threatened.

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State officials have issued an air pollution advisory for the western Piedmont of North Carolina because of the ongoing wildfire in Burke County.

The N.C. Division of Air Quality issued the advisory for Burke, Caldwell and McDowell counties, where residents could experience unhealthy air quality, depending on wind directions.

The 1,800-acre wildfire is centered in the Linville Gorge Wilderness near Table Rock Mountain, and satellite photos show a large plume of smoke drifting downwind. Smoke could reach as far as Marion and Hickory, and officials say heavy smoke from the fire could contain high levels of particle pollution.

Residents could experience Code Orange conditions Friday in the three counties. Parts of Wilkes, Surry, and Alexander counties may also see some heavier smoke, depending on the fire's growth and intensity.