Approximately 40 percent of Table Rock wildfire contained

Joshua Farmer

Progress has been made in suppressing the Table Rock wildfire located in Linville Gorge on the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest.

As of Friday, the wildfire grew to a size of 1,800 acres with an estimated 40 percent under containment due to extensive burnout operations by firefighters, according to various media reports.. The size of the wildfire is expected to grow throughout Friday.

“We are at 40 percent containment with about 100 personnel working on the fire,” said Deborah Walker, the Fire Information Officer of the National Forest Service.

Walker said that the personnel working to suppress the fire have containment lines around most of the fire and the fire is expected to slightly move south.

“The fire was discovered Tuesday morning, we think it started probably some time around Monday night,” Walker said. “The front that came through Tuesday evening with the ice and snow pushed the fire really hard.”

Walker said the National Forest Service has people working on the fire from surrounding states: Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina.

“It is mostly federal resources right now putting out the fire, people from the Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service,” Walker said.

Fire fighters will conclude burnout operations on the southern containment line Friday. The ignition of the southern boundary containment will result in the size of the wildfire growing, according to various media reports..

The U.S. Forest Service reported that the wildfire was initially 15 acres in size as of Tuesday afternoon.

Roads and trails in the Linville Gorge area remain closed to the public. No structures are currently in danger of being damaged by the wildfire due to successful burnout tactics,according to various media reports..

Boone and Appalachian State University will continue to experience smoke throughout the weekend as a result of southern winds pushing the smoke into northern communities, according to various media reports..

The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation. The fire began Monday, initially reported by an Avery County ranger. Fire investigators are asking the public to contact the Grandfather Ranger District at (828) 652-2144 with any information about the origin of the wildfire.

“If there is any impact in Boone it would only be smoke, but the smoke levels are not unhealthy for people,” Walker said.

Story: GERRIT VAN GENDEREN, News Reporter and NICOLE CAPORASO, Intern News Reporter