SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — Five days after a wildfire started burning on Pilot Mountain fire crews are getting a handle on it.
It hasn't grown in size and as of Wednesday, Dec. 1, the fire remains 50% contained and the smoke has also thinned out.
Things are looking up for Pilot Mountain. There are still a lot of hot spots and work to be done, but in five days crews have a strong handle on the fire.
As for the community, it has a lot of hope.
"I've probably been all over the mountain sometime or another," Will Allen said.
Across the entrance to Pilot Mountain State Park, down a gravel road, you can find a hidden oasis.
"We have a cabin rental business and bed and breakfast," Allen said.
Allen and his wife have owned the Pilot Knob Inn for more than 20 years. Much of their success Allen said comes from the park.
"I don't think we could have moved it 20 miles and been nearly as successful as we've been," Allen said.
Hikers and those just passing by who stay at the inn enjoy the state park. Allen and his family also spend a lot of time there. When the fire started, they were concerned for their business.
"We were full Saturday night, and then Sunday night when the fire got a little bigger we were running about half full, and then after that, we've been vacant the last couple of days," Allen said.
Now that there is a good handle on it, Allen hopes the guest will return soon.
"It was just really disheartening, I tell my kids that mountain changes every day if you watch it, and it really changed a lot in a couple of days," Allen said. "It was a sickening feeling to watch that fire run up the side of it."
As for the Pilot Mountain, mopping operations are still being done and the visibility of the smoke and fire has decreased tremendously.