A 500 acre fire tore through the slopes above Ridgecrest on Tuesday afternoon. As of Wednesday at noon, the fire has been 50% contained.

UPDATED The morning after: Photos from the Black Mountain/R­idgecrest Wildfire

Around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, a brush fire caused by unknown sources in the Ridgecrest area of Buncombe County erupted across the ridgeline. Spurred by gusty winds and dry conditions, the blaze soon spread across the mountains bordering Black Mountain, destroying several homes and forcing residents to flee to safety as state and federal Park Service officials, along with firefighters from across Western North Carolina, came in droves to battle the wildfire.

The county's industrial and pollution control financing board will consider the approval of issuing $4.2 million in industrial revenue bonds to pay for new machinery at Plasticard-Locktech International.

County’s industrial board to consider approval of industrial revenue bonds

The Buncombe County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority will hold a meeting on Tuesday, March 31, to consider the approval of financing new machinery for the Plasticard-Locktech International facility at 605 Sweeten Creek Road. The meeting will be held at noon at 46 Valley Street in downtown Asheville.

A caller impersonating a member of county government or law enforcement has been threatening arrest to victims if he or she does not pay a made-up amount of "owed" money. Photo by Flickr user Philippe Put

Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office warns of new scam affecting the area

“There is absolutely no validity to this whatsoever,” the sheriff states. “If somebody calls you and tries to collect money, [saying they’re] from any government entity at the threat of arrest — [know] that [neither] the IRS nor the Sheriff’s Office call and give you an opportunity to pay … any kind of fee or fine that would result in you being arrested.”

What’s our grade? School leaders anticipate release of state grades

The 1.5 million children enrolled in North Carolina’s public schools this year will not be the only ones receiving grades soon. State officials plan to release a performance-based, letter-graded report card for each school, starting Feb. 5, and for some education leaders in the Asheville area, anticipation is high. Chip Craig, vice chairman of the […]

LET US SWIM, LET US SWIM: Goggled swimmers and their parents flowed into the Buncombe commissioners' chambers Feb. 3.  “We know because we swim [at the Zeugner Center] everyday. It needs to be shut down, but not before we have another place to swim,” said Camille Long, a sophomore at T.C. Roberson High School.

From goggles to land conservati­on, Buncombe commission­ers get an earful

The public-comment stretched nearly three hours at the Feb. 3 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting, as a tsunami of local residents expressed their displeasure with two recent and highly controversial county decisions — the planned closure of the county’s only indoor aquatic center, Zeugner, and the equestrian revisions to the animal-control ordinance. Citizens — including goggled […]

Buncombe commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of a $48.5 million expansion of the county's Department of Health and Human Services facility. (Photo by Jake Frankel)

Commission­ers approve animal ordinance, new human services facility

Buncombe commissioners don’t often hold marathon sessions, but on Jan. 20, their agenda started at 8:30 a.m. and took all day: By the end, they had waded through an overview of several county departments, heard preliminary funding requests from local nonprofits, taken a second vote on the changes to the Animal Control Ordinance, directed staff to look for inexpensive […]

Board of Commissioners Chairman David Gantt presents departing Commissioner David King with an award for his service on the board.

County approves economic incentives­, King bids farewell

Counting on a longterm return and benefit to the area, Buncombe County commissioners approved two economic incentive packages today, Nov. 18, in exchange for the creation of new jobs and millions of dollars of investment in the county economy. Commissioners unanimously approved a $9 million economic incentive for gear maker Linamar North Carolina Inc., to […]

Left to right: Democratic candidates Cindy McMahon, John Ager and Ellen Frost celebrate their wins on election night. Photos by Halima Flynt, Jesse Farthing, Pat Barcas

A deeper dive into the Democratic blue: Analysis of Buncombe Commission­, NC House elections

Despite rightward-streaming state and federal political currents, Buncombe County stood out on election night as a small sea of Democratic blue. In several important local races, Democratic candidates toppled Republican incumbents or maintained their positions of power. Here’s a look at some of those key local races, with an analysis of what happened and the consequences going forward.