A massive wildfire on North Carolina’s Pilot Mountain has been raging for three days, spreading across hundreds of acres.
Officials say the fire, which started on Saturday, is currently burning 240 acres of land, forming a blazing ring around the mountain’s peak. So far, no people or homes have been harmed.
Firefighters are working to fight back the flames, but the dry, windy weather is making it difficult.
“The fire is spreading quick because of the wind,” firefighter Chris Wall told WFMY.
On Sunday, the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation said the mountain would remain off-limits to visitors for at least the next several days.
“Pilot Mountain State Park is closed today, Nov 28, and likely all week due to a wildfire burning within the park,” the Division said on Facebook. “Please stay away from the area.”
North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, also released a statement on the fire.
“The Governor’s Office has been in communication with local officials responding to the fire on Pilot Mountain,” Mr Cooper’s office tweeted. “The Governor appreciates the tireless work of firefighters, the Forest Service and others to keep people safe.”
The mayor of Pilot Mountain, Evan Cockerham, said “heroic” firefighters are struggling to put out the blaze, but the conditions are challenging.
“Of course, it was our local firefighters at Pilot Knob Vol Fire Department and surrounding departments that were on site and first to respond last night,” Mr Cockerham told WFMY. “Despite their heroic efforts, strong winds and dry fuels have now spread the fire over a few hundred acres.”
Jimmy Holt, a ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, said the effort is also hampered by the mountain itself.
“Direct containment is really not an option in the steep terrain,” Mr Holt told WFMY. “Very dangerous being up there on that kind of terrain in those kinds of conditions.”
Mr Holt said despite their efforts, the fire could still rage on for another “couple of days.”
“We’ll be here until it’s done, however long it takes,” he said.
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