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Crews continue to fight wildfire off I-40 near Pigeon River Gorge in North Carolina

Forestry crews said the fire had grown to 700 acres as of Wednesday, which began nearly a week ago. They also said it was 40% contained.

HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. — Forestry crews in North Carolina continue to battle a wildfire in the Pigeon River Gorge area near Interstate 40 just south of the Tennessee state line.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, roughly 70 firefighters are working to contain a fire on Hurricane Ridge, which has been burning since Wednesday along I-40 in Haywood County. 

Wednesday afternoon, they said overnight rainfall helped firefighters contain the flames. By 3:45 p.m. they said it was around 700 acres large and 40% contained. It was the same size at around 9:15 p.m. Thursday, they said.

The following day, they said it was 55% contained and had grown to almost 800 acres. However, they also said remaining areas of active burning along the containment lines have been extinguished.

The fire is located just east of I-40 off Cold Springs Road, and smoke could be seen from the interstate. 

"Due to the proximity to Interstate 40, smoke may impact visibility on the roadway, particularly in the mornings and evenings through this coming Wednesday. Flames may be visible along the east side of the road. Drivers are urged to use caution in this area. Interstate 40 is expected to remain open," forestry crews said.

Crews began fighting the fire the night before Thanksgiving, saying it was fueled by dry, windy, unseasonably warm conditions. Helicopters are being used to drop water to reduce the intensity of the flames near the firelines.

Crews said several cabins are in the larger contingency area and are being assessed for fire risk and protection needs.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"The public is asked to avoid the area as not to interfere with firefighting operations. Please be cautious with fire as conditions will remain dry and windy throughout the area over the next several days."

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