CHIMNEY ROCK, N.C. -- The Party Rock Fire nearly doubled in size since Thursday evening. The fire footprint is now 1,914 acres and containment remains at 15 percent. The rapid fire growth caused a mandatory evacuation for all of Chimney Rock Village including the Highway 74-A corridor west of Chimney Rock to the Henderson County line, and some communities in the Town of Lake Lure and Rumbling Bald Resort. Residents and business owners in the evacuated areas have been directed to shelters opening in Lake Lure and Rutherfordton. The evacuation could last anywhere between three and seven days.
Air resources including a heavy air tanker, single engine air tankers and both heavy and light helicopters dropped retardant and water to slow the approach of the fire towards Chimney Rock Village. A shift in winds blowing from the northeast will likely push smoke into the Town of Lake Lure that could turn into dense ground smoke if a nighttime atmospheric inversion occurs. For more information on possible air quality alerts, area residents can visit the National Weather Service website at http://www.weather.gov/gsp/.
A stretch of Highway 74-A leading into Chimney Rock Village was closed earlier this afternoon. More information on road closures can be accessed via the NCDOT Travel Information Management System website at https://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/regionsummary.aspx.
Copyright 2016 WCNC