Yesterday, Monday, Nov. 6, at noon, Buncombe County issued a state of emergency, banning burning due to the extreme risk of fire. All open pit burning, tiki torches, and chiminea devices are prohibited until further notice. The ban comes as the NC Forest Service issued a burn ban for 14 WNC counties due to drought conditions and increased wildfire activity.
Due to smoke from the surrounding areas, the valleys and northern ridge tops of Buncombe County are under a Code Yellow health advisory and the southern ridge tops are under a Code Orange health advisory — this means people with respiratory conditions or in other sensitive groups should limit outdoor activity. In the event of an emergency, Buncombe County will use the CodeRED messaging alert system to update residents — text “BCAlert” to 99411 to receive communications or sign up for alerts online.
Of the several wildfires now burning in WNC, the Collett Ridge fire in Cherokee County is currently not contained, with a Code Red health advisory issued due to the smoke. Efforts are still underway in the Edneyville community to suppress the Poplar Drive wildfire, which is about 20 miles southeast of Asheville and now 5% contained — the community remains under a Code Orange health advisory.
You can help support relief efforts for the Poplar Drive fire by donating to Edneyville Fire and Rescue. To learn more about what you can do to protect your home + community in the event of a wildfire, read up on this resource approved by the NC Forest Service or find tips to create an emergency plan.