Pilot Mountain Reopens After Large Fire

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) -- Pilot Mountain State Park is reopening after a fire this month that burned about 675 acres.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Wednesday that the park in Surry County reopened even as mop-up efforts continue. The principal overlook at Little Pinnacle, the climbing area and some trails remain off-limits to visitors and some damaged trees near the mountain's summit are being removed.

The park's campground, picnic area and most overlooks will be available to visitors, and portions of the trail system will be evaluated in coming days for reopening.

The blaze began Nov. 8 as a prescribed fire that escaped lines when embers blew from a dead tree into steep terrain. No injuries were reported from the fire.

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Officials say a fire that has burned more than 800 acres on Pilot Mountain has been contained.

Surry County EMS director John Shelton says a fire line was completed around the blaze Monday morning. Shelton says a few jumps outside the fire line have been handled quickly.

The fire began as a prescribed burn Thursday morning.

Officials say crews may be at the scene until Wednesday to mop up. They say up to 1,000 acres could burn before the fire is extinguished.

No injuries have been reported. Some residents say they worry about breathing the smoke.

A community meeting was scheduled Monday night so residents could ask questions about the fire.

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A prescribed burn that got out of control has closed down a state park, north of Winston-Salem.

Pilot Mountain State Park in Stokes County remains closed after fire on Thursday jumped outside the prescribed burn area. The North Carolina Forestry Service says the wildfire has charred about 100 acres.

Foresters say none of the fire is contained, and it could take up to two days to get the blaze under control. The fire can be seen for miles, and those driving along U.S. 52 could see a lot of smoke in the area.

Pilot Mountain is a familiar sight on U.S. 52, between Winston-Salem and Mount Airy.

A helicopter, scout plane, bulldozer and several forestry crews are working to contain the fire.