McCrory: Most WNC fires believed to be started by humans - FOX Carolina 21

McCrory: Most WNC fires believed to be started by humans

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McCrory (at podium) gives an update on the WNC fires (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 14, 2016) McCrory (at podium) gives an update on the WNC fires (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 14, 2016)
LAKE LURE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday said the Party Rock wildfire in the Lake Lure area was the most severe fire in the state and was threatening 40 businesses and numerous houses in the village of Chimney Rock.

More than 500 people were helping fight the Party Rock fire, which the governor said was threatening the communities of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and Bat Cave.

McCrory said the conditions for fires in Western North Carolina were the worst on record and he compared the fires in the state to those in California.

“We have California wildfires in NC and they continue to cause serious challenges to our communities,” the governor said from the command center in Lake Lure.

The governor said most of the fires are believed to have been started by humans, though officials did not know if the fires were set intentionally or by accident. McCrory advised people in Western NC to be vigilant and report any burning in hopes of reducing the disaster, which comes just week after a hurricane flooded the eastern part of the state.

“We’re trying to recover from one natural disaster and stop this one,” McCrory said, noting that the state was still reeling from the recent Hurricane Matthew.

McCrory outlined three major goals in dealing with the fires: safety, containment, and structure protection.

The number one goal is safety, particularly the safety of the first responders battling the flames. McCrory said he was thankful the fires had not resulted in any fatalities or major injuries.

Secondly, the focus was on containing the fires. McCrory said crews were using machinery to dig lines and would also be using roads, creeks, and other natural features as containment lines.

Thirdly, crews were focusing on protecting structures when the fires approached them. McCrory said there had only been a handful of structure damage reports connected to the fires burning across the Mountains.

McCrory asked residents to heed all warnings and any evacuation orders from local officials and said fires could be a problem in the areas for months.

“These conditions may continue until March,” McCrory said.

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