Pilot Mountain State Park remains closed; mayor says reopening will be ‘a great day for this community’

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The Grindstone Fire at Pilot Mountain is 95 percent contained Friday.Officials have said they hope to reach full containment by the end of the weekend. As fire crews work to get the last of the fire out, plans for assessing the damage done are beginning to take shape.A date for the reopening of Pilot Mountain State Park had not been set as of Friday.“We are going to have to come in and assess. There are a lot of snags,” said Kristen Woodruff, north district superintendent for North Carolina State Parks. “We’ve got to get personnel. A lot of our resources are deployed to fires right now, so that’s does take time.”As teams work to get the park back open, Pilot Mountain Mayor Evan Cockerham is encouraging the community to come together to thank the first responders and support small businesses that often rely on park traffic for revenue.Pilot Mountain is an icon in Surry County.“Anybody who lives around here knows, when you see that mountain, coming over the hill, they know they’re home,” Cockerham said. “There’s an emotional attachment to Pilot Mountain.”The wildfire on the mountain began Saturday, charring hundreds of acres in the days following. Officials said that a campfire in an unauthorized area started the blaze.“We were able to see that none of the structures were significantly damaged. Even the picnic shelters looked to be in good shape. There were a few spots where railing and things like that had some damage, but overall I think once the mountain is finally ready to reopen, people will be surprised the damage was as limited as it was,” Cockerham said. He surveyed the fire alongside Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.“We’re just so grateful for all the firefighters and all the first responders that were involved to limit the damage as much as possible,” he said. “Once it’s determined that it’s safe, it’ll reopen. I think that’s going to be a great day for this community,”

The Grindstone Fire at Pilot Mountain is 95 percent contained Friday.

Officials have said they hope to reach full containment by the end of the weekend. As fire crews work to get the last of the fire out, plans for assessing the damage done are beginning to take shape.

A date for the reopening of Pilot Mountain State Park had not been set as of Friday.

“We are going to have to come in and assess. There are a lot of snags,” said Kristen Woodruff, north district superintendent for North Carolina State Parks. “We’ve got to get personnel. A lot of our resources are deployed to fires right now, so that’s does take time.”

As teams work to get the park back open, Pilot Mountain Mayor Evan Cockerham is encouraging the community to come together to thank the first responders and support small businesses that often rely on park traffic for revenue.

Pilot Mountain is an icon in Surry County.

“Anybody who lives around here knows, when you see that mountain, coming over the hill, they know they’re home,” Cockerham said. “There’s an emotional attachment to Pilot Mountain.”

The wildfire on the mountain began Saturday, charring hundreds of acres in the days following. Officials said that a campfire in an unauthorized area started the blaze.

“We were able to see that none of the structures were significantly damaged. Even the picnic shelters looked to be in good shape. There were a few spots where railing and things like that had some damage, but overall I think once the mountain is finally ready to reopen, people will be surprised the damage was as limited as it was,” Cockerham said.

He surveyed the fire alongside Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.

“We’re just so grateful for all the firefighters and all the first responders that were involved to limit the damage as much as possible,” he said. “Once it’s determined that it’s safe, it’ll reopen. I think that’s going to be a great day for this community,”

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