PILOT MOUNTAIN — Area firefighters and Pilot Mountain State Park personnel worked for hours Thursday evening to control a prescribed burn that got out of control.
According to Park Supervisor Matt Windsor, the prescribed burn, which is used to burn off undergrowth to prevent forest fires, got out of control for about 30 minutes and a total of three acres burned. He said some of the embers got to the base of the summit cliff near Ledge Springs Trail where there was a lot more leaves and undergrowth or “fuel” for the fire.
Smoke was thick through some of the upper parts of the roadway going up the mountain, and smoke was especially think at the top of the mountain where firefighters were stationed.
According to John Shelton, director of Surry County Emergency Services, the fire on the mountain yesterday was a controlled burn.
“Trees fell across the fire lines and broke the fire lines. We called the N.C. Forestry Service and eight fire departments initially, but they got there extremely quickly and were able to get it under control,” said Shelton.
He said all but three fire departments were canceled after the fire was under control.
Just before 8 p.m. Thursday, he said crews were about to wrap up their efforts, but would be monitoring the mountain through the night.
In addition to Shoals, Ararat and Pilot Knob volunteer fire departments, Surry County sent in its Wildland Fire Suppression Unit that contains necessary equipment to fight forest fires. Shelton said firefighters use different techniques to battle forest fires than the methods used in fighting structure fires.
“That unit is a huge asset when we have fires like that. We have a huge amount of firefighters in the county that are wildland certified. There’s a whole other training program for that, but we are glad we have them,” said Shelton.