CHARLOTTE, NC – A statewide burn ban in effect in North Carolina as the Pilot Mountain fire intensifies. Forestry officials say the fire is expected to double in size and burn for days.
The fire has burned about 500 acres so far.
“The dry, windy conditions especially during peak burning hours during the middle of the day causes very extreme fire activity,” said Jimmy Holt, with NORTH CAROLINA FORESTRY SERVICES.
He says people should avoid the area and keep clear of firefighters working to contain the blaze.
“Temporary flight restriction in the area, five mile radius. So, no private drone activity or aviation. If there is any detected then our aviation is grounded for several hours and our efforts and firefighters’ lives are at risk when our aviation is grounded,” said Holt.
People at a nearby campground are heeding the warnings. They’re moving away from the flames as the dry conditions provide ample fuel.
“I want to be home, I don’t want my family to be worried about me being up there, but yet I’m concerned about the folks left behind fighting the fire,” said Henry Fansler.
Meanwhile, in other mountain counties, like Watauga. Fire officials are keeping a close eye on conditions.
“We’re not expecting any rain for the next 10 days so everyone needs to use extreme caution,” said Shane Garland, the Watauga County Fire Marshall.
He says they’re prepared for any flare ups that may happen in his area. They’re using leaf blowers for containment and prevention.
“To actually remove the leaves from the ground to get us down to the dirt a lot of times. And that will help us establish a line around the fire,” said Garland.
The Mayor of Pilot Mountain posted on Facebook asking for donations for the firefighters. He says the community responded by dropping off bottled water, Gatorade, and other small items.