As North Carolina Forest Service personnel from the Asheville region pitch in to support firefighting efforts out west, NCFS staff in Madison County are preparing for what could be a busy fire season locally.
“What we’re seeing right now, in models and predictions coming out, we’re going into the same sort of weather pattern we had in 2016,” said Bo Dossett, Madison County ranger with the NCFS. That year, wildfires through the Great Smoky Mountains killed at least 14 in the area around Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Currently, more than 100 major fires have consumed nearly 7,000 square miles in California, Oregon, Washington and other western states, killing at least seven and destroying hundreds of homes.
“Basically, from the Pacific Northwest all the way down to New Mexico and Texas, there’s areas burning,” said Jeremy Graves, assistant county ranger. The situation has NCFS personnel from Buncombe, McDowell, Henderson and Transylvania counties pitching in to support firefighting efforts hundreds of miles away.