Wildfire reaches pinnacle of Pilot Mountain after controlled burn jumps fire line

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. — The wildfire at Pilot Mountain State Park had reached the pinnacle of the mountain by Friday night. 

FOX8 cameras captured the fire reaching the Shoals (Northwest) side of the knob around 10 p.m.  

Surry County EMS Director John Shelton says the State Forestry Service stopped working on the fire around 7 p.m. with plans to return Saturday morning.   

The blaze, which started as a control burn Thursday turned into a wildfire Friday morning consuming between 100-180 acres. Smoke polluted the air as far south as High Point, forcing a code orange to be issued due to the poor air quality. 

The decision by the park superintendent to conduct a control burn Thursday has come under a wave of criticism by local officials and residents.  

Residents say it was too dry and windy for a control burn though EMS officials say the weather conditions were not a factor. The National Weather Service recorded wind gust of between 20-30 mph Thursday.

“Who would be burning outside with the dry conditions and as windy as it is,” said Dickie Crump of Pilot Mountain.  “One of us would be in jail now if we had started a fire [Thursday] and it was to this magnitude.”

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