Saturday, January 22, 2022

More evacuations urged as fires continue in North Carolina

— Officials are urging more residents in western North Carolina to evacuate as wildfires continue.

Clay County officials said in a news release late Wednesday that the growth and smoke from the Boteler Fire shows more evacuations are needed for several roads in Hayesville.

Officials said people living on five roads should leave their homes. It was not known how many homes are affected.

A fire in western Rutherford County has now burned more than 400 acres. People in 38 homes have been asked to evacuate because of the Party Rock Fire near Lake Lure. Officials said residents of an additional dozen homes may be asked to leave.

Smoke drifting into the town forced some businesses to close and reduced the number of visitors during the busy fall season.

Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Thursday to help the state combat more than 20 active fires.

“As eastern North Carolina was underwater due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew, the western part of the state has been suffering from a severe drought and now hundreds of acres are burning,” McCrory said in a statement. “This declaration will help facilitate evacuations as needed and provide further state assets to help combat the wildfires and support North Carolinians displaced by the fires.

The state of emergency is in effect for 25 counties, including Alexander, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties.

The N.C. Forest Service has issued a burning ban on all open burning and canceled burning permits in 25 counties in the western part of the state. To date, there have been evacuations ordered in Clay, Graham, Macon, Rutherford and Swain counties.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.

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