McDowell County wildfire threatens 35 homes, spreads to 550 acres

A McDowell County wildfire that was reported Sunday threatens 35 homes, federal officials say. None have been damaged so far.

The Dobson Knob fire, as it is known, has burned 550 acres and is only 10 percent controlled. The fire is in a steep, rocky area near the North Cove community north of Marion, an area with a long history of wildfires.

The fire started on private property and is now burning on both private land and U.S. Forest Service land in Pisgah National Forest. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The state air-quality division issued an advisory about smoke in the area Tuesday. Dense smoke could blanket the North Cove, Woodlawn, and Linville Falls communities. Travelers along U.S. 221 North should also expect smoke.

This area is closed to the public: Forest Service lands north of the Mountains to Sea Trail and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road #106); east of the North Fork of the Catawba River; south of Old Linville Rd (SR 1560); and west of the Overmountain Victory Trail. The Mountains to Sea Trail from the North Fork of the Catawba River to Old N.C. 105 and Dobson Knob Road is also closed.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender