Firefighters battling blaze in Pisgah

MARION (AP) — Firefighters are trying to put an end to a wildfire burning in part of the Pisgah National Forest and some private land in western North Carolina.

Firefighters are conducting burnout operations in fires near Marion and Old Fort, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported.

The burnout will allow firefighters to remove fuel near fire containment lines to help reduce growth of the 180-acre Sugar Cove fire, said Lisa Jennings with the U.S. Forest Service. The fire was only 10 percent contained Tuesday.

Smoke from the burnout operations will probably disperse rather than settling down on the nearby communities, Jennings said. She did say smoke was expected Wednesday in valleys near U.S. 70 and U.S. 221.

Parts of N.C. 80 were being closed for public safety as firefighters conducted the planned burning.

Ninety firefighters were battling flames Tuesday, an increase from Monday when 75 firefighters were on scene. Officials were expecting three additional 20-man crews Wednesday, Jennings said.

Helicopters have been available for crews to use in addition to hand tools and bulldozers.

No structures have been directly threatened, but firefighters continue to monitor buildings on the southern side of the fire N.C. 80, she said.,

No injuries have been reported.

The fire spread onto U.S. Forest Service land after a debris burn got out of control on private land Saturday, according to fire officials.

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