UPDATE: (Monday 5:45 p.m.) - The U.S. Forest Service says portions of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area have reopened, after being shut down by a wildfire on Cold Mountain for more than four days. The Forest Service says the fire is still smoldering, but it does not expect it grow any further. Over the weekend, the fire had grown to about 200 acres in size.
The only portion of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area that remains closed is the area east of Deep Gap. That includes the Cold Mountain Summit Trail. All other parts are open again. Firefighters will remain on site according to the Forest Service to monitor conditions.
UPDATE: (Sunday 11:00 p.m.) - The U.S. Forest Service says despite nearly two inches of rain falling over the weekend, a wildfire on Cold Mountain in Haywood County continues to burn. Flames were first reported early Thursday. The fire is now affecting close to 200 acres according to the Forest Service.
The fire is still not threatening any structures, but firefighters will remain on site until it is out as dry weather conditions are expected for much of the coming week. Smoke is still visible from the fire according to the Forest Service, which adds the Shining Rock Wilderness Area and related trails are still closed.
UPDATE (Friday 4:00 p.m.) Authorities say a wildfire burning on famed Cold Mountain in Western North Carolina grew slightly in size Friday, but firefighters have made good progress in protecting structures near the flames.
As of midday Friday, the U.S. Forest Service said the blaze covered 126 acres of the mountain in Pisgah National Forest in Haywood County. On Thursday, that figure was just over 100 acres. Approximately 30 firefighters have been working to keep the fire away from structures on private land. The Shining Rock Wilderness Area and all its recreational uses including 53 miles of trails remain closed due to the fire.
Authorities say residents can expect heavy smoke in the area throughout Friday night. The weather forecast for the area shows that up to an inch of rain could fall starting very early Saturday morning through the late evening hours.
EARLIER VERSION OF STORY BELOW
Firefighters are responding to a wildfire on Cold Mountain in the Haywood County portion of Pisgah National Forest. A video shared by the U.S. Forest Service showed flames in spots along the mountain’s ridge.
Bruce MacDonald, the public information officer with the National Forests in North Carolina, told BPR that as of 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the fire covered more than 100 acres. MacDonald says the flames have forced the temporary closure of the Shining Rock Wilderness area including all trails. Around 30 firefighters are on the scene and will be working the overnight hours to contain the fire. MacDonald says the fire was not moving towards any structures late Thursday afternoon, but heavy smoke surrounds the area.
Cold Mountain is located about 15 miles southeast of Waynesville in Haywood County, and around 40 miles outside of Asheville. At just over six-thousand feet in elevation (6.030), it's one of the tallest mountains in the Eastern United States. It may be most known for being the namesake of Charles Frazier's 1997 novel set during the Civil War, which was made into an Academy-award winning 2003 film starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger.