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Pilot Mountain fire contained; 800 acres burned

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PILOT MOUNTAIN, NC (AP) -- 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.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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No Aplogies from Burn Officials

Government officials told the public they intended to burn 180 acres to protect the public from fire, they lost control and now half (1,000 acres)of Pilot Mountain State Park is gone. People's homes were in danger as this fire was out of control. In the meeting with fire officials local people described being up all night for days doing what they could to protect their property from the fire. I havn't seen/heard an apology from officials, though I did see stated that if they had only done more controlled burns more frequently this would not have happened. They call this fire a paradox, I call it irony.

This business of prescibed burns is growing and it will only be a matter of time before substantial personal property will be lost. The Croatan National Forest was a prescribed burn this spring that was planned for 1500 acres and ended up instead at 21,000 acres. This mistake cost taxpayers $1.2 million dollars.

A growing industry is being built on burning forests. The industry stakeholders include consultants, equipment manufacturers, forest service specialists, helicopter pilots, grant writers....

These stakeholders are busy working to have relevance with their careers/businesses/salaries. This industry is promoting burning and increasing their business share. One plan for burning next year is in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah Forest. The plan is to burn 40,000 acres including 12,000 acres in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. A great wonder is how and who can justify burning the Linville Gorge Wilderness when the "Wilderness" designation's intent is legislate that man can not interfere with this environment; no roads, no vehicles, no chainsaws..., and certainly not pay people to do it. What is going on here and why are we spending public money to support it?

This industry should not continue on tax payer dollars.