(Rutherford County, N.C.) Residents and business owners in the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock areas were forced to leave after a massive wildfire more than doubled in size overnight and threatened structures and lives in the region.
Mandatory evacuations orders went into effect Friday morning as the wildfire grew to 1914 acres, crossing perimeters firefighters hoped would contain the blaze. The fire was about 887 acres on Thursday.
“It’s not behaving the way (fires usually do) so we’re having to approach it from a totally different perspective,” said Michael Good, operations chief with the North Carolina Forest Service.
More than 300 firefighters are on the front lines including first-responders from 14 local departments. Local firefighters are working to protect homes and businesses while the Forest Service works to extinguish the fire spreading across the mountains.
“I’ve seen a small brush fire that is out within a day or so, but this has been going on now for close to a week,” said Chris Williams, who lives and works in Chimney Rock. “Man, it’s scary, scary stuff.”
North Carolina is currently fighting 20 active wildfires. Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency earlier this week, making the area eligible for federal funds.