LATEST UPDATE: Wildfire near Lake Lure tops 7,000 acres; more residents warned of possible evacuations
CHIMNEY ROCK, N.C. (WNCN) – Firefighters have now contained 32 percent of the Party Rock fire Friday in western North Carolina.
A total of 920 firefighters are working to protect homes and other structures from the fire.
Firefighters have been working 12-hour shifts and then many of them have been sleeping in tents.
Along with crews on the ground, several helicopters and large tankers are being used to help with containment.
A cold front is expected to arrive Saturday and predicted to being strong winds and no rain.
The Forest Service said that area of north Carolina has not received rain in 46 days.
Residents and business owners with permits will be allowed back into Chimney Rock Village beginning at noon on Saturday. Only residents and business owners can obtain re-entry permits, officials said.
The north and southbound Highway 74-A leading into Chimney Rock Village are closed. Highway 9 remains closed from the intersection at Highway 74-A in Bat Cave north to Shumont Road.
On Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory said the state is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for setting the western North Carolina wildfires.
“We are committed to doing all we can to support our firefighters, protect people and property, and find those who may be responsible for any wildfires in North Carolina,” said McCrory. “Firefighters are making progress but the job is not over. I especially want to thank the volunteers serving as firefighters and those helping to feed, house and support firefighters in communities throughout our state.”
While no arrests have been made in North Carolina related to the wildfires, arrests have been made in neighboring states.
Fifteen fires continue to burn across North Carolina.