Forest fire closes part of Appalachian Trail


MADISON COUNTY, NC (WSPA) – A fire that started Monday in a remote area of the Appalachian Trail, burning more than 32 acres, was contained and put out by crews on Tuesday.

Seven miles of the more than 2,000 mile trail in the Pisgah National Forest remains closed while dozens of crews continued to check for hot spots on Tuesday.

The fire burned more than three dozen acres of the forest.

A portion of the crew gathered about an hour north of Asheville, in Hot Springs, NC. 

23-year-old Jonathan Thon is a hiker from Minnesota, and is making his way across the Appalachian Trail.

“Today it’s 250 miles done, then I have about 2,000 more to go,” Thon said.

Michael Judas, 60, from Germany, is marking this trail adventure off his bucket list, but was disappointed that the fire resulted in the closure of a portion of the trail.

“For me it’s a pity,” Judas said. “I’ll see if I can come back within the next few days, but if not I’ll have to skip this part and continue.”

The National Forest Service officials said they are using every resource to put the fire out.

“We used helicopters and airplanes to wet down the edges of the fire to slow down its growth and get it so we can have people safely on the ground near it,” Bruce MacDonald, with the North Carolina Forest Service, said.

Officials said Tuesday evening would be a waiting game as helicopters carrying water are waiting to see if they are still needed.

They told us that the trails may reopen in the next few days if crews are able to put out all of  the hotspots.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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