Davin Eldridge

As wildfires continue to burn throughout Western North Carolina, firefighters in the far-western part of the state now have about 85 percent of them contained in Jackson, Macon, Swain and Clay Counties.

Factors like improved air quality, higher humidity and lower temperatures in recent days have all helped firefighters contain the blazes. But with no rain in the forecast until next weekend, they are still preparing for a long fight, according to Southern Region Incident Commander Kevin Harvell, of the North Carolina Forest Service.

On the next Friday @2, our friends from Asheville Baroque Concerts join Dick Kowal in the studio to give us a glimpse into the music included in their program Sunday afternoon at Oakley United Methodist Church. From 17th century Italy, it's La bella piu bella.

Please join us!

Last month WCQS welcomed Krista Tippett, host of On Being, to Asheville as part of the Faith In Literature Festival at UNCA. One of the highlights of the festival was a conversation between Krista Tippett and Isabel Wilkerson, author of “The Warmth of Other Suns.”

Protests aren’t new, certainly in Asheville.  But with the vitriol of the recent election still fresh on people’s minds, they’ve taken on a new intensity.  Intensity is something Maria "Masha" Alyokhina knows something about.  Alyokhina is a member of the feminist Russian punk band Pussy Riot, known now all around the world for its defiant opposition to Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

The Party Rock Fire has continued to grow since doubling in size since last week. The fire footprint is now 4,480 acres and 19 percent contained, according to North Carolina Forest Services.

Firefighters are continuing their efforts in protecting structures while constructing containment lines around the fire, however, fire managers are concerned about predicted strong winds.

North Carolina Forest Services says the managers are preparing for the winds later this week and say they may increase the size of the fire.

The Asheville Art Museum presents its next Pianoforte concert on Sunday afternoon at 3. The featured artist will be pianist Grace Lee. Grace will play music by Chopin, Debussy, Brahms and Lowell Lieberman in a program "exploring the beauty of artistic virtuosity."

The concert will take place at Biltmore United Methodist Church, 376 Hendersonville Rd in Asheville.

Dick Kowal talked with Grace, and Harry Rowney, board member of the Asheville Art Museum, about the concert.

University of North Carolina-Asheville

Juan Sanchez is an assistant professor of modern languages and literatures at UNC-Asheville.  He recently won the National Prize in Literature in his native Colombia for his book of poetry Altamar.  The title of the book translates to 'high sea'.  It's also the last name of Sanchez's great-grandfather.  The poems in the book are written from the perspective of water.  Sanchez has also done a lot study on indigenous cultures, and incorporates that into his poetry.

North Carolina Air Quality Forecast Center

Crews fighting wildfires throughout western North Carolina reported progress in containing wildfires in Clay, Swain, and Macon Counties.  But the Party Rock fire near Lake Lure and Chimney Rock continues to grow, and authorities believe that will only increase later this week.

U.S. Forest Service

Firefighters battling several wildfires throughout western North Carolina report progress in getting those fires contained.  But air quality in the region remains poor, especially the further west you go from Asheville.  Buncombe and surrounding counties have air quality labeled "unhealthy."  The four westernmost counties - Macon, Cherokee, Clay, and Graham - have air quality labeled "very unhealthy."

Asheville Symphony Orchestra

Listen Thursday evening at 8 for our broadcast of the Asheville Symphony's October 22nd concert. On the program, the Saint-Saens Danse Macabre, Florent Schmitt's colorful and exotic-sounding Suite from La tragedie de Salome (think Richard Strauss meets Claude Debussy) and the "Double Concerto" for violin, cello and orchestra by Johannes Brahms, featuring ASO concertmaster Jason Posnock and cellist Alistair MacRae.

Chip Kaufmann will be your host. Please join us.

Duiett says the fires are about 33 percent contained, and the job of firefighters at this point is to contain the fires, fight them where they can elsewhere, and protect homes and residents. So far, about 600 homes have been impacted by the fires.
Davin Eldridge

It was standing room only on Sunday at Southwestern Community College in Bryson City, as several hundred residents from Clay, Macon and Swain Counties attended a community meeting held by state and federal firefighters. The goal of the meeting was to update locals on the status of the fires and to take questions from the public.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Hundreds of protesters voiced their opposition to President-elect Donald J. Trump Saturday in downtown Asheville.  They gathered in front of the federal courthouse and marched down Patton Avenue to Pack Square in front of Vance Memorial chanting such slogans as "Love Trumps Hate," "This is what democracy looks like," and "Not my president."  

26-year-old Frederick Billings called watching the election results "traumatic" and said he didn't think people voted rationally.

Several hundred firefighters from across the U.S. have joined the fight against 20 wildfires scattered across the mountains of Western North Carolina. The fires have burned approximately 17,000 acres of woodlands, both public and private, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

North Carolina has seen conditions of extreme drought, winds gusts reported as high 25 miles per hour, and with little-to-no rainfall is being forecasted for the next week.

The River Arts District Artists present their annual fall Studio Stroll this Saturday and Sunday, 10-5 both days. Ceramic artist MaryJane Findley and painter William Henry Price joined Dick Kowal to talk about the stroll and about working in "the hive," the River Arts District.

Pan Harmonia presents two concerts in our area this weekend, featuring the Opal String Quartet. Alternate Currents can be heard Friday night at 7:30 at St. James Episcopal Church in Black Mountain, and Sunday afternoon at 3 at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Asheville. The concerts feature a work by Amy Beach, America's first successful woman composer, as well as quartets by local composers Michael Hosford and Dosia McKay.

Dosia and Kate Steinbeck, director of Pan Harmonia,  spoke with Dick Kowal.