New wildfire forces evacuations near Blowing Rock

Many firefighters join to help battle the 700-acre Horton fire that has forced evem more evacuations.

WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. – Homes near Blowing Rock are being evacuated after a new wildfire was reported in Watauga County Monday.

According to Watauga County Communications, a call was received around 7:15 p.m. in the area of Sampson Road and Watson Drive. Officials began mandatory evacuations as a precaution with the fire approaching homes.

Officials say that about 100 emergency personnel are on scene and worked throughout the night Monday into Tuesday in an effort to control the blaze. Authorities have not determined exactly how much acreage has burned since the fire started.

As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, no fire-related injuries have been reported. Incident Commander Rusty Dellinger said the fire is only 20-percent contained

"In my 30-year career, I don't know if I've ever seen a fire this large," Dellinger said.

Forest Service pilot Bill Condon flew over the fire on Tuesday morning, and he said the area has been particularly challenging.

"Fires in the mountains here will definitely cause concern for the aviators involved in trying to handle it," he said.

The Watauga County Sheriff's Office is still investigating a cause to this fire.

This latest fire comes after active arson investigations in Burke, Rutherford and McDowell Counties.

An emergency shelter has been established at Alliance Bible Fellowship on 1035 North Carolina Hwy 105 Bypass in Boone, but the Red Cross said no one has used it, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Pets can be sheltered at the Watauga County Humane Society.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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