Little smoke to be seen but Table Rock fire still burning - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Little smoke to be seen but Table Rock fire still burning

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For the first time in a week, the skies above Table Rock Mountain and the Linville Gorge in Burke County were smoke free on Monday afternoon.

The more than 2000 acre fire had been burning out of control since it began near the Table Rock Picnic area on Veteran's Day. Though it was hard to spot any smoke from a vantage point a mile away, US Forest Service officials say the fire is still going.

"There are plenty of hot spots and places under logs and stumps that are still burning," said Don Simon.

Rain on Friday and Sunday night helped to slow down the advancing flames and all but put the fire out in many areas but with the weather changing again, Simon said that officials cannot claim victory over the blaze just yet. "It is not fully contained or controlled right now."

Containment lines have been put in place around much of the fire but not completely. The fire has jumped those lines in several spots in the past few days.

Those active areas have calmed down due to the rain but still have spots that are smoldering. Simon said the concern is that as the humidity drops this week and winds pick up those  hot spots could flare up and start the main body of the fire running again.

Almost 200 firefighters are on the scene searching for hot spots to extinguish and more firefighters are expected to arrive on Tuesday. There is a chance that more backburns will have to be set to clear fuel off the forest floor near the containment lines.

No decision on that has been made yet. Officials will reassess the status on Tuesday morning.

Only one structure on private property is threatened by the fire at this time. "It is a hunting cabin near the south end of the fire," said Simon.

The Outward Bound School buildings, which had been in the path of the flames last week on the north side of the fire, now appear to be safe, he said.

School officials have been allowed back to the scene, but have been told to monitor the situation closely.

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