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Arson Suspected In Third Cherokee County Wildfire In A Week

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The U.S. Forest Service says is arson is the suspected cause of a wildfire reported Sunday night near the Lake Appalachia Dam in Cherokee County.  It’s estimated at 80 acres in size on land owned by the Forest Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority.  

Arson is also the suspected cause of two wildfires that occurred last week near Andrews that crews were able to contain.  One fire on private property along Tatham Gap Road burned 32 acres, while the other in the Nantahala National Forest's Tusquitee Ranger Disrict affected 27.5 acres.  Firefighters had both fires controlled on March 31st.   

Meanwhile, the cause of two other wildfires in Haywood and Macon Counties is still under investigation.  As of Monday afternoon, the Camp Daniel Boone Fire in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area is 72 acres in size and is 80% contained.  The Cals Creek Fire is larger at 90 acres in the Nantahala National Forest east of Otto.  It’s 90% contained. 

A ban on all open burning is in effect for North Carolina's 32 westernmost counties.  That prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. Anyone caught violating the ban faces a $100 fine plus court costs. 

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.