A wildfire that started Saturday at Pilot Mountain State Park and spread across more than 1,000 acres was 80% contained as of Thursday morning, according to the N.C. Forest Service.
That’s up from 50% late Wednesday.
The update came during a visit from N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to the fire response command center set up in a former funeral home in the town of Pilot Mountain, with the peak’s distinctive knob clearly visible to the south.
“Pilot Mountain is such an iconic site from all over the Piedmont,” Troxler said of the Surry County landmark. “To see the images of Pilot Mountain on fire, it’s really upsetting to a lot of people.”
He also noted that a fire in Stokes County at Sauratown Mountain, which burned Nov. 9-14 and reignited this week, was 100% contained. Fire service personnel will continue to monitor the site.
“We don’t call it done, did and over with until we’re sure it can’t rekindle,” Troxler explained.
He urged North Carolinians to adhere to a statewide ban on outdoor burning issued by the forest service Tuesday.
“We would love to see a good, soaking rain to put all of this to rest,” Troxler added, while also noting that current forecasts don’t call for rain until the middle of next week.
The park remains closed, and will remain so until there is no risk of the fire restarting, an N.C. Parks Service spokeswoman said.
Gov. Roy Cooper is scheduled to visit Pilot Mountain State Park Thursday afternoon.
John Deem covers climate change and the environment in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina. His work is funded by a grant from the 1Earth Fund and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.