Multiple fires along I-85 in Guilford County

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- A series of fires happened back to back during rush hour traffic along Interstate 85 near mile marker 117 in Guilford County Monday afternoon.

About four to five fires quickly spread along the shoulder of the highway, taking firefighters about 40 minutes to put it out, according to officials.

"We were able to get a quick knockdown,” said Tommy Cole, assistant fire chief of Pinecroft-Sedgefield Fire District.

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 4:45 p.m.

No one was hurt.

"We were very lucky that we kept this out of the woods themselves,” Cole said. “This was all in the shoulder on the grass."

According to Capt. Derek Carson of Pinecroft-Sedgefield Fire District, the fires were probably caused by a vehicle malfunction like a blown out tire.

Carson says most likely hot rubber from the tire got into the grass and caused the fire.

That plus dry conditions made for a dangerous situation, according to Carson.

"It's extremely dry, with the winds and the humidity, the fires are going to grow rapidly," Cole said.

Conditions are so dry the North Carolina Department of Agriculture issued a burn ban in 47 counties including Guilford County.

It’s a precaution officials are taking to avoid having massive wildfires like what broke out last week in the western part of the state.

"The fires are going to spread fast, and we're more worried about the homes and the buildings as well as the woods,” Cole said.