Wildfires continue to rage in western NC; no rain in the forecast

MARION, N.C. (WNCN) — Another large wildfire has broken out in western North Carolina, officials said Sunday.

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Already, more than 1,000 firefighters are battling several wildfires that have been burning for at least a week.

Now, McDowell County officials say that a wildfire broke out late Saturday night and has grown to 800 acres by Sunday afternoon. Another smaller wildfire also is active in McDowell County, officials say.

The largest fire is called the Clear Creek Fire. As of Sunday afternoon there have been no evacuations, but Clear Creek and Curtis Creek areas are closed.

Emergency workers have gone door-to-door in the Clear Creek, Old Clear Creek and Ladybug Drive areas notifying residents of potential dangers, McDowell County Emergency Management said.

On Monday, aerial measurements drastically reduced the original acre estimates of the Clear Creek fire, which has burned a total of 186 acres, according to WSPA.

The Piney Mountain fire off Curtis Creek Road in Old Fort is 100-percent contained, having scorched 55 acres. U.S. Forest Service personnel will monitor that area tonight and throughout the day tomorrow.

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Residents who live in the vicinity of Clear Creek, Old Clear Creek and Ladybug Drive, as well as in the Curtis Creek Road community, are asked to shelter in place at this time, emergency management said.

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Local, regional, state and federal crews continue to work the Clear Creek Fire.

Meanwhile, the Party Rock Fire near Lake Lure was held to 7,171 acres despite strong winds overnight into Sunday.

The Party Rock Fire has forced about 1,000 evacuations and remains 36 percent contained.

More than 900 firefighters are working day and night to protect homes and businesses in the Lake Lure area.

On Sunday, residents and business owners were allowed back into the Chimney Rock Village and Bat Cave communities but passes are required.

A Red Flag warning, meaning fire conditions are critical, is in effect for McDowell County.

Officials that dry conditions are expected to continue with no rain in the forecast.

Smoke will continue to cause problems. Air quality problems are expected to continue downwind from fires in Ashe and McDowell counties, with more problems in Cleveland, Rutherford and Wilkes counties.

A total fire ban is in effect for all of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. The North Carolina Forest Service has banned all open burning in 25 counties in the western quarter of the state.

The largest fire is the Tellico fire in Swain and Macon counties that has burned nearly 13,900 acres. The fire started Nov. 3.

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