CHEROKEE COUNTY, N.C. -- A wildfire burning on national forest land in Western North Carolina continues moving westward.
A press release from the U.S. Forest Service on Sunday said the Collett Ridge Fire, burning about four miles north of Andrews, North Carolina, experienced minimal growth to the west towards Flat Branch and Collett Creek on Saturday. As of Sunday, the fire had grown to about 61 acres, with 0% containment. In total, the Forest Service says 54 personnel are working to combat the fire, which has still not threatened any structures or caused any injuries.
Due to dry fuels on the forest floor such as leaf litter, officials say smoke continues to be produced and may be visible from Highway 74.
Officials report lightning started the fire atop Collett Ridge on Oct. 23, 2023, in the Cheoah-Tusquitee Ranger District of Nantahala National Forest.
Crews are continuing Sunday to work within nearby communities to provide structure protection. Firefighters are also scouting the area to identify secondary containment lines, which could be a natural or man-made barrier such as a creek or road.
There are no trail, road, or area closures at this time. However, the public should avoid the area so fire crews and resources can work safely.
A cold front is expected to begin on Monday bringing a chance of rain. Colder and well below-normal temperatures are expected by mid to late week before another warming trend.
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