Fire in western NC consumes more than 6,700 acres as firefight continues
LAKE LURE, N.C. — North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said he has been in touch with neighboring Governor Nikki Haley about wildfires raging in both states, according to WHNS.
He is particularly concerned about thousands of acres burning within Table Rock State Park in Pickens County and the potential for it to spread.
“These fires do not recognize state boundaries,” McCrory said.
In an update at 3 p.m. on Thursday, he said more than 46,000 acres of forestry in North Carolina was burned in a rash of wildfires across the western part of the state.
McCrory applauded 2,100 active personnel, first responders and volunteers, combating the flames across the state. He said only one structure has been lost among the nearly 1,800 threatened by the blaze.
“This is not over but there has been incredible improvement over the past 24 hours,” he said.
Investigators believe the fires are man-made but are still working to determine if they were set intentionally or not.
“People who tend to set fires may want to do it again,” McCrory said. “I hope it was accidental.”
The governor called for no burning whatsoever in the region due to severely dry conditions. The existing fires are already occupying much of the state’s resources.
“If there’s any fire that starts, something like this could happen immediately,” he said.
Concern is also focused on air quality, with alerts issued across the state. McCrory said smoke is visible as far east as Raleigh with conditions he said he has never seen in his lifetime.
“It was like smoking a pack of cigarettes if you were standing anywhere near here,” he said. “You could not see the sky a day and a half ago.”
As of Thursday evening, officials confirmed that 6,712 acres had burned in the Party Rock fire in Lake Lure, NC, with 900 personnel battling the blaze. Officials said that with $2.7 million spent on the fire already, it remains a top national priority at this time.
Officials said the weather would be working against first responders fighting the fire in the coming days, as wind would likely spread more smoke in the area and into the Upstate.
The fire was 31 percent contained as of Thursday night.