Watauga wildfire burns over 700 acres, continues to spread

BOONE, N.C. (AP) – A wildfire in Watauga County has burned over 700 acres and continues to spread.

Local news organizations report that the Horton Fire started Monday as two separate fires along a roadside that spread into the hillsides. The fires later joined, creating one big wildfire.

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office says fire officials are investigating to determine if the fire was set deliberately, but deputies aren’t ready to call it arson.

The fire has spread to residential areas and several homes have been evacuated.

Back burning operations Tuesday night slowed the progress of the fire, but officials believe the fire will burn 1,000 acres by Wednesday. The fire was 20 percent contained as of Tuesday night.

The Horton Fire is one of several large wildfires burning across the Southeast.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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