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With the Grindstone Fire 100% contained, what's next for Pilot Mountain?

Crews will be monitoring the situation as dry conditions continue and a non-profit is closer to reaching its goal of generating $6000 per year for the park.

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. — The Grindstone Fire on Pilot Mountain is now 100% contained, but crews will still need to continue their work, especially with dry conditions across the state.

"There will be some residual smoke from time to time from deep in the interior," said Jimmy Holt, the Guilford County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service. "There are some places there that are very difficult to access that’s why we can’t completely walk away from this fire until we get significant rainfall."

The Grindstone Fire started on Saturday, November 27 on Pilot Mountain. It burned about 1000 acres.

There is currently a burn ban across all of North Carolina and Holt said there have been some open burning violations. Surry County Emergency Services posted to Facebook reminding people of the ban, saying cigarettes and unattended flames were causing issues. 

Please remember that a state wide burning ban is in effect for Surry County. Our county firefighters, deputies, and...

Posted by Surry County Emergency Services on Friday, December 3, 2021

"I can’t tell you just the difference in how this mountain looks compared to what is it a week ago," Holt said. "It speaks so highly for the firefighters and for the management team that’s been handling this fire that we have not had a drop of rain on this fire."

Holt said 15 firefighters were on site Saturday. He said that will go down to five on Sunday, December 5. A campfire in an unauthorized area has been cited as the cause and Holt said that investigation is still ongoing.

The non-profit group Friends of Sauratown Mountains works to support both Pilot Mountain State Park and Hanging Rock State Park. They have created a specialty North Carolina license plate for the park. Their goal is to sell 300 plates which would generate $6000 annually for Pilot Mountain State Park. 

Credit: Friends of Sauratown Mountains
The Friends of Sauratown Mountains says 300 of the speciality plates will bring in $6000 annually to Pilot Mountain.

The Truliant Foundation has now agreed to cover the cost of each plate to help the group reach its goal of 300. Going into December, they still needed 70 license plates. As of Saturday, December 4, the Truliant Foundation said there were about 25 additional applications and 20 were pending. 

"We’re all about supporting the community and making a commitment to our community," said Renee Rohrer, with the Truliant Foundation. "This gift for Pilot Mountain and the friends of Sauratown Mountain, it’s really an extension of that. This is such an important place that many of us in the Triad go and we wanted to really make sure that there were funds available to take care of it after the fire."

The Truliant Foundation is the philanthropic foundation for Truliant Federal Credit Union. This is the first gift the foundation has made since launching on November 1.

"We know that the aftermath of the fire is going to take recovery and more recovery than what the state or the park rangers up there are able to do on their own," said Rohrer.

RELATED: 'It represents home to us' | Impact of Grindstone Fire at Pilot Mountain felt by community

The Truliant Foundation will cover the initial $30 cost of the plate. Twenty dollars will go to the Friends of Saurertown Mountains, the other $10 goes to the state.

"We saw a long-term opportunity to create a revenue stream to assist the organization in a different way by helping them reach this goal and ultimately get the license plate that will generate income every year as people renew the license plates," said Rohrer. 

RELATED: Update: Pilot Mountain Grindstone Fire 100% Contained

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