Fires scorch Iron Duff, Pigeon Gap

By Kyle Perrotti | Feb 16, 2017
Photo by: John Highsmith This fire in Iron Duff burned 50 acres.

Two fires sparked up Tuesday afternoon in Haywood County, one Iron Duff area and one near Pigeon Gap.

The first fire started near Crabtree Road. The 50-acre fire burned into the night, turning the hills in the area into a glowing inferno which stretched North Carolina Forest Service Resources.

Although the blaze burned longer without emergency response than the Pigeon Gap fire, once personnel from the forest service and Crabtree Fire Department arrived, they got to work quickly and had the fire fully contained before midnight.

“The one in Crabtree burned until the rain started,” Forest Ranger Matt Hooper, who works out of Clyde, said.

The second fire, which started near Pigeon Gap, was much smaller than the Crabtree. Although it burned only three acres and didn’t burn over the same, rugged terrain, it did threaten multiple homes and outbuildings.

“They did a real good job of doing structure protection,” Hooper said.

Because the Crabtree fire department and the Forest Service responded to the larger fire, the Pigeon Gap fire required personnel from Center Pigeon, Waynesville, Junaluska, Lake Logan, Clyde, Jonathan Creek, Cruso and Saunook Fire Departments.

The coordinated effort, which was headed up by the Haywood County Emergency Management Team, got control of the fire quickly by setting the fire line early and simply letting it burn out.

Center Pigeon Fire Chief Johnny Pless said there were burn permits for both fires and technically there was no obvious negligence in either case.

“It was just weather and bad circumstances,” Pless said. Pless added that just because a burn is legal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe, and that it is incumbent upon the person burning to keep an eye on the conditions.

“You need to be prepared for wind,” he said. “And always watch the weather forecast.”