NC Wildfire expansion forces more evacuations

A forest fire has crossed its containment line in western North Carolina, closing major highways.

LAKE LURE, N.C. -- The wildfires in western North Carolina continue to grow, forcing more residents to evacuate their homes and businesses.

State and federal fire officials say portions of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure communities are now under evacuation orders due to the Party Rock Fire. The evacuation was prompted by a major fire run up to and crossing the Shumont Mountain containment line Friday. Officials say approximately 1,000 acres of land has burned in both the Chimney Rock State Park and South Mountains State Park.

Some evacuations are mandatory while others are voluntary. Officials said they didn't have an immediate count on the number of homes involved.

The level of evacuation varies as follows:
There is a mandatory evacuation of Chimney Rock Village from the intersection of Boys Camp Road and Highway 74 to the Hickory Nut Falls Campground Bridge intersection with Highway 74.

There is a mandatory evacuation for those residents and business owners located on Boys Camp Road, from the Highway 74 intersection to the Burnt Ridge Road intersection.

There is a voluntary evacuation for residents and business owners located on South Side Drive from the Flowering Bridge west to the Hickory Nut Falls Campground Bridge intersection with Highway 74.

There is a pre-evacuation notice for residents from Hickory Nut Falls Campground Bridge intersection with Highway 74 to the county line.

Residents located from Burnt Ridge Road intersection and Boys Camp Road, to the end of Boys Camp Road will be allowed to remain in their homes, but must provide identification to gain home re-entry.

“We know this evacuation is a great inconvenience to our communities, but the importance to protect life is our highest priority”, noted both Mayors of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

Evacuees with special needs or disability are requested to call 911.

Shelters are open at Bills Creek Baptist Church in Lake Lure and Greenhill Baptist Church in Rutherfordton.

Homes in Lake Lure also were evacuated earlier this week.

The forest fires in western North Carolina are forcing the state to close several state parks so that the people who work there can help fight the fires.

Don Reuter of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation says the following state parks are closed starting Friday: Gorges, New River, Mount Mitchell, Elk Knob, Lake James and the Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. South Mountain and Chimney Rock state parks closed earlier.

Reuter says it's never an easy decision to close parks but the priority now is protecting life and property. In addition to closing the parks, the burn ban has been expanded to all parks west of Interstate 95.


Copyright 2016 WCNC


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