NC Forest Fires Update: The Poplar Drive Fire in Henderson County has reached 100% containment.

The fire will continue to be monitored by N.C. Forest Service personnel. The fire footprint was 434 acres, and the cause was determined to be a debris burn.

The Collett Ridge Fire, burning in Cherokee and Clay counties, is 5,505 acres and 82% contained. The Collett Ridge Fire is being managed under unified command by the U.S. Forest Service and N.C. Forest Service. The cause of Collett Ridge was determined to be lightning.

The Black Bear Fire is burning in Haywood County on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest, and is currently 1,720 acres and remains 0% contained. The fire started on Nov. 16, resulting from a traffic accident on Interstate 40 near the NC/TN border. Reduced visibility on I-40 due to fires in the area is possible. For public and firefighter safety, the Appalachian Trail is closed from Interstate 40 to Max Patch. Road closures are in effect for Cold Springs Road and Brown Gap Road. I-40 remains OPEN, but expect delays from both directions. Check current road conditions at Information on this fire can be found at

As of Nov. 19, 828 fires have burned on state and private lands statewide since Nov. 1. Yesterday, firefighters responded to several small fires across the region, protecting more than 20 structures with an estimated total value of over $100 million.

Black Bear Fire Forest Order Emergency Closure

WNC Mountains -- Haywood County: Black Bear Fire - Forest Order - Emergency Closure November 19, 2023

ORDER NO. 08-11-04-24-001

Pursuant to the provisions of 16 USC § Section 551, and Title 36 CFR §Section 261.50 (a) and 261.50(b), the area of National Forest System lands in the “Black Bear Fire Area” located on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest and Unaka Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest is closed to entry. The area is closed to entering or being present in the area, including on roads or trails, so to mitigate risks to public health and safety, to provide for disaster and safety operations, and to protect the resources while responding to and recovering from the Black Bear Fire. This Order is effective through December 31, 2023, or until rescinded by an authorized Forest Service official, whichever occurs first.

The area is signed closed from entering or being present is further indicated on the attached map. Only National Forest System lands are impacted by this closure. On the Appalachian Ranger District, the Appalachian Trail is closed from 1-40 to Brown Gap including Groundhog Creek shelter. The closure area can be described by the following perimeter:

West of Cold Springs Creek Road (FSR148) and Browns Gap Road (FSR148A),
South of the Appalachian Trail, and
North of I-40 to the North Carolina State Line
On the Unaka Ranger District, the Appalachian Trail is closed from 1-40 to Brown Gap.

The closure area can be described by the following perimeter:

North of the Appalachian Trail
North of I-40 to Carmichael Tract Road (FSR225201)
South of Carmichael Tract Road (FSR225201) to the Tennessee State Line
South of Snowbird Road (FSR225202) to the Tennessee State Line, and
South of Brown Gap Road (FSR2250) to the Tennessee State Line
All roads and trails on the closure perimeter and within the closure area are closed:

Cold Springs Creek Road (FSR148)
Browns Gap Road (FSR148A)
Harmon Den Mountain Road (FSR352)
Groundhog Road (FSR3522)
Hickory Ridge Road (FSR357)
Skiffley Creek Road (FSR3580)
Chestnut Orchard Road (3580A)
Carmichael Tract Road (FSR225201)
Snowbird Road (FSR225202)
Appalachian Trail (TR1-08)
Groundhog Creek Trail (TR315), and
Rube Rock (TR314)

The above-prohibited acts are set forth in Title 36 CFR § Sections 261.53(e) Special Closures for Public Health or Safety 

Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e) the following persons are exempt from the above prohibitions:

Persons with a permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of their official duty.
These prohibitions are in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.

A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both. 16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571 and 3581.


Image Credit: WNCTimes


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