Usually-busy tourist town of Chimney Rock evacuated as NC wildfires threaten area

UPDATE: NC wildfires near 50,000 acres as Lake Lure fire spreads to evacuated areas

CHIMNEY ROCK, N.C. (WNCN) — Firefighters have been working around the clock – most of them on 12-hour shifts.

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The focus isn’t just on containing the fire; it’s also about protecting homes.

The Party Rock fire is just part of a larger wildfire that has burned approximately 4,500 acres of land. The North Carolina Forest Service took CBS North Carolina’s Amy Cutler to the fire zone on Tuesday to show them just how close the flames came to the Village of Chimney Rock.

Chimney Rock, a normally busy tourist town, is empty due to a mandatory evacuation that was ordered. Near the town, just off U.S. Route 74/U.S. Route 64, flames were spotted.

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One of the biggest challenges for firefighters is how spread out the fire is. It’s also close to the ground. Fortunately, the fire is slow-moving and fire crews have been trying to pour water on those slow-moving, low-lying flames.

The N.C. Forest Service has said there are nearly 450 firefighters from more than 100 agencies working around-the-clock to keep the flames from spreading. Progress has been slow because the ground is dry and the conditions are ripe for fire.

UPDATE: NC wildfires near 50,000 acres as Lake Lure fire spreads to evacuated areas

“In this region this is definitely the largest thing we’ve ever seen. It’s the largest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” said Lowell Griffen, a volunteer firefighter from Edneyville.

Among the fire crews are six firefighters from Cary. They’ve been working the overnight shift.

“All firemen have the inner need to help, so when the opportunity came up we jumped at the chance and got to go,” said Capt. Lee Falk with the Cary Fire Department.

The N.C. Forest Service said the Party Rock fire is now 19 percent contained. They’ll be rotating firefighters as they continue to work to douse the flames.

Out “the forest service now confirming this fire is 19 percent contained. They say they’ll be rotating firefighters as there work here continues. In lake lure, I’m ac, CBS North Carolina.

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