Firefighters helping Pilot Mountain fire to burn in effort to gain control; officials expect fire to impact more than 900 acres

Piedmont Triad News

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WGHP) — A new strategy could change the course of the Pilot Mountain fire.

According to officials, the fire started at the Grindstone Trail. The call reporting the fire came in around 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Planes were in the air at 10 a.m Monday., and more crews will be joining those already fighting the fire Monday from southern North Carolina counties, as well as crews coming in from east of Raleigh.

An official with the NC Forest Service says that an estimated 500 acres have burnt as of 11 a.m.

Monday afternoon, firefighters began helping the fire burn in a controlled manner, working to direct the fire down the mountain to the fire containment line. Officials say this will take a couple of days.

At the end of it, more than 900 acres will be burned in some capacity. 

A time-lapse video shows the progression of the fire burning on Pilot Mountain. The video, taken by Daniel Whittaker, shows flames burning up the side of the mountain overnight up to Pilot Mountain’s famous knob.

The Forsyth County Emergency Services Communications Division has received multiple reports of a strong smell of smoke and haze in multiple areas within the county due to the fire at Pilot Mountain.

  • Firefighters working to put out fire on Pilot Mountain (credit: Daniel Whitaker)
  • Firefighters working to put out fire on Pilot Mountain (credit: Daniel Whitaker)
  • Firefighters working to put out fire on Pilot Mountain (credit: Daniel Whitaker)
  • Firefighters working to put out fire on Pilot Mountain (credit: Daniel Whitaker)
  • Firefighters working to put out fire on Pilot Mountain (credit: Daniel Whitaker)
  • Firefighters working to put out fire on Pilot Mountain (credit: Daniel Whitaker)

Surry County Emergency Services is currently supporting the efforts of the North Carolina Forest Service and the North Carolina Park Service.

The Surry County Office of Emergency Management and Surry County Emergency Medical Services does currently have dedicated resources in place at this fire. All Surry County Fire resources are on standby and being used when requested. All Surry County resources are still maintaining a county-wide readiness for citizens, according to a news release.

The Pilot Knob Volunteer Fire Department has been accepting donations of water and Gatorade at their station and has received an abundance.

“Storage for these items has been overwhelmed. If you would like to donate, please consider a monetary donation to your local fire department. Thank you all that have donated items as they will be used,” Surry County Emergency Services said in a news release.

The Mayor of Pilot Mountain, Evan Cockerham, posted on Facebook Sunday evening that the situation is being closely monitored and that the dry forecast for the next few days is contributing to the spread of the flames.

The weather is “against” them as of right now, according to the NC Forest Service. The dry, windy conditions expected today are going to complicate containment, especially given the terrain.

FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd said, “A cold front is moving through, and the breeze it’s producing is going to enhance the danger of wildfires today.”

The NC State Parks and Recreation Department says Pilot Mountain State Park is expected to be closed all week. The call reporting the fire came in around 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Cockerharm requests anyone in Surry and surrounding counties refrain from any outdoor burning and that if anyone sees outdoor burning, to contact local law enforcement.

The FCESCD asks you to call 911 if there is an incident involving smoke and visible flames.

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