Firefighters hold Party Rock fire despite windy conditions

There are concerns the raging wildfire could grow this weekend with forecasted high winds.

LAKE LURE, N.C. -- Strong winds tested fire containment on the Party Rock Fire Saturday and through the night Sunday morning.

Firefighters on the frontlines of the Party Rock Fire have been on guard with the weekend forecast calling for windy conditions.  

Thankfully, the North Carolina Forest Service says the Party Rock Fire did not grow outside the containment lines.

"If we can hold it one more day, we should be in great shape," Incident Commander Dan Brandon said during Sunday's morning briefing.

On Monday, the North Carolina Forest Service announced that all evacuation and pre-evacuation notices for the Town of Lake Lure and surrounding neighborhoods will be cancelled as of noon. 

The size of the fire remains at 7,171 acres, with containment at 36 percent. Hills charred black can be seen near Chimney Rock Village's main drag of businesses and homes. So far, the fire has not resulted in the loss of any homes or structures.

The North Carolina Forest Service says that more than 900 structural and wild land firefighters are working day and night to protect homes and businesses.

Firefighters have made headway on the south side of the mountain. This will allow residents and business owners of Chimney Rock to return Saturday afternoon. However, there are still many families that have no idea when they will get back into their homes.

"We've been out of our home for about 11 days, we were one of the first 15 families evacuated," said Amy Brevard, of Lake Lure.

Brevard has been putting her energy into her business, Lake Lure Coffee Shop. It is one of the few shops open, and right now, her primary customers are first responders.

"It's been very stressful, we've been trying to shift out hours with us being evacuated and far away," she explained.

Brevard and her family have found a house about 20 miles away in Rutherfordton. It is the third place they've been moved to since the Party Rock fire started.

"Every place that we have been evacuated from has been donated, it's been strangers that we don't even know that email us and say, 'can we lend a place, can we cook you dinner, can we do anything for you?' So we definitely have been grateful in this time," Brevard declared.

Her family is now paying it forward. She has served nearly 800 firefighters free ice cream at a local mess hall and collected hats for them for cold nights. She also is giving away free drinks from her coffee shop to all firsts responders, including her own son.  

"He is 15-and-a-half and he's been fighting the fire since it started, so we are super proud of him," she beamed.

Brevard says her son is a volunteer and has helped evacuate homes and put out flare ups over the last few days. Keeping busy has helped she says, but she says her she can't stop thinking about her home. It is still in the danger zone  

"We are very worried about Thanksgiving," she said. "We want to celebrate Thanksgiving in our home, we just purchased this home three months ago. So, this would be our first Thanksgiving, it is our dream to have a big Thanksgiving with our friends and family."

Brevard says she was told the evacuation order for her area could be lifted as early as Monday, however, she has been told to be prepared to be out of her home until after the holiday. 

Residents and business owners have been allowed back into the Chimney Rock Village and Bat Cave communities, but passes are required.


Copyright 2016 WCNC


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