WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Black Bear Fire in Haywood County has charred 1,740 acres and is now 42% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service on Monday.

The big concern Monday for firefighters is the increasing winds. A storm system forming in the mid-Mississippi Valley is expected to bring gusty conditions across the ridge tops, the service said. Wind speeds are expected to increase to the 15-25 mph range out of the southeast.

Winds will be accompanied by increasing cloud cover, but no measurable rain is expected until Monday night.

(US Forest Service)

Tuesday may bring some help as rain is expected the entire day, heavy at times, the service said.

The fire started Thursday morning along I-40 at mile marker 3 near the tunnel to Tennessee when a tractor-trailer flipped on its side, sparking a blaze, the service said.

In just the first 36 hours, the wildfire grew to about 1,200 acres by Friday night.

There are 195 personnel responding to tame this fire, the service said.

  • Photo of I-40 and flames courtesy of Crystal Ann Phillips
  • Photo courtesy of Robbie Baker
  • Photo courtesy of Robbie Baker
  • Photo courtesy of Crystal Ann Phillips