UPDATE: APRIL 6: An “escaped debris burn” caused what’s been dubbed the Weed Lane fire near Ridgecrest Conference Center in Buncombe County. The wildfire started March 31, destroying one home, damaging five more and spreading across 740 acres. By April 5, firefighters had declared it was 100 percent contained.
A March 30 debris burn was the source, says Robert Smith, fire incident commander for the forest service. The agency’s press release noted that “the landowner thought his fire was safely out, [but] it’s common for heat to remain in ashes several days or even weeks under the right conditions.”
Gusty winds and dry conditions spurred the blaze, which spread across the mountains around Black Mountain. State and federal officials, along with firefighters from across Western North Carolina, came in droves to battle the blaze.
By Friday, April 3, the U.S. Forest Service reported that the fire had “calmed down considerably,” but Ridgecrest trails remained closed for the Easter holiday weekend. “The fire is 100 percent contained now,” said Smith.
UPDATE, APRIL 3: The U.S. Forest Service says conditions have improved regarding the 752-acre Weed Lane fire that burned near Black Mountain and Ridgecrest Conference Center. Trails remain closed for the holiday weekend, and the wildfire threat remains, due to continued dry conditions, however. For the U.S. Forest Service update, click here.
EARLIER REPORT: 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 at least one home and forcing residents to flee to safety while state and federal officials, along with firefighters from across Western North Carolina, came in droves to battle the wildfire.
As of noon Wednesday, April 1, approximately 500 acres have burned. The fire continues to move along the county line between Buncombe and McDowell, edging up on Pisgah National Forest. Emergency responders, including the Red Cross, have worked throughout the night to help affected residents and contain the blaze.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, officials report that the fire is 50 percent contained, with the main area of concern at higher elevations on the ridgeline. For local residents, such as those living in the Laurel Wood Trailer Park in Ridgecrest, the shock has not worn off, even as the flames subside.