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Authorities continue to battle wildfire near Appalachian Trail

POSTED: November 26, 2012 1:24 p.m.

Authorities are fighting a 215-acre wildfire near Black and Springer mountains in the Chattahoochee National Forest that has closed the approach trail to the Appalachian Trail.

The fire was first reported around 7 p.m. Saturday and the cause is under investigation, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service. The fire is not currently threatening any structures and is close to the Dawson, Gilmer, Fannin and Lumpkin county lines.

“We do have southbound hikers from Maine who may be trickling in,” said Judy Toppins, spokeswoman for the forest service. “We’re doing our best to let them know what’s going on and help get them to their destination with shuttles.”

Officials are advising the public to avoid the area.

The approach trail is closed from its crossing on Forest Road 28-2 at Nimblewill Gap to the Springer Mountain trailhead parking area on Forest Road 42, including the Black Mountain trail shelter.

Forest Road 46 is also temporarily closed between Nimblewill Gap and High Shoals Church Road.

Responders include the local U.S. Forest Service Type 3 Incident Management Team and at least 20 people from the North Carolina Forest Service. The Georgia Forestry Commission, Lumpkin County Fire Department and Georgia Department of Natural Resources are also helping, making the total number on the scene upward of 70.

A helicopter also was deployed to douse the flames with buckets of water, she said.

Toppins said the last fire of this size was in 2008.


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