By David Rogers. November 23, 2016. BLOWING ROCK, NC — As a supplement to our report last night, Blowing Rock News provides this follow-up based on information received this afternoon from the Horton Fire command center.
COVER IMAGE: Fire along Sampson Rd. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
Because we have seen other media reports suggesting that the fire is expected to consume 1,500 acres, a 150-acre increase over the estimate we reported last night, we asked the Horton Fire command center for clarification, and whether something had happened that led to an increase in the acreage estimate, and whether any additional homes or other structures were now at risk.
The Public Information Officer (PIO) on duty this afternoon indicated no, that nothing adverse had happened, that the 1,500 acre estimate appears to be a close “roundup” from the 1,350 acres we were told yesterday. So, according to our information the fire has not grown more than expected and, as you will read in the release below, is now 65% contained.
As a point of emphasis, when we spoke with the PIO, we were referred to the map at right, which is the same map that was available yesterday.
There continue to be health risks from inhaling smoke from the fire, however. Residents and visitors to the area impacted by the smoke should use caution in their physical activities and take preventative steps to protect their health.
CLICK HERE for an important Public Health Advisory from Appalachian Regional Healthcare and the Watauga Health Center.
The full text of this afternoon’s update:
As of 2:00 PM 11/23/16 the Horton Fire is 65% contained and approximately 900 acres. 125 emergency response personnel from 26 agencies are actively responding. Fire crews have responded from as far away as New Jersey, Arizona, and Florida. Incident Commander Brent Triplett said, “It’s a very tough thing for first responders to be away from their homes and families around Thanksgiving, but our firefighters are a dedicated group of folks. We all just try to encourage each other as much as we can.”
The firefighting priorities are focused on protecting homes within and near the fire area. No structures have been burned and debris removal and burnout operations continue around homes. Burnout operations are being supported by multiple air resources. Two 800 gallon Single Engine Air Tankers along with a helicopter are supporting crews on the ground.
Weather conditions continue to be favorable for fire operations. If operations continue successfully full containment may be reached by Friday.
The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office is patrolling the fire perimeter. Members of the public who do not live in the area are asked to avoid the area.
A smoke exposure public health advisory has been released and will be published at hortonfire.blogspot.com.
A great thank you to the Watauga County community for stepping up to provide donations for the firefighters. No additional donations are needed. The community is encouraged to donate to the Red Cross.
We encourage readers to also read our story from November 22nd, found here: http://blowingrocknews.com/lines-perimeter-horton-fire-blowing-rock/