Party Rock fire burns more than 6,700 acres - FOX Carolina 21

Party Rock fire burns more than 6,700 acres

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Party Rock fire burns more than 6,700 acres. (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 18, 2016) Party Rock fire burns more than 6,700 acres. (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 18, 2016)
LAKE LURE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Thick smoke from the Party Rock Fire comes and goes depending on the wind.

"We've got the night shift so,we've been doing line operations and so forth," Johnny Blackmon said. He's a firefighter from Roswell, New Mexico and for at least 14 days, Lake Lure is his new home.

"We know another firefighter watches our backs as well as we watch theirs," Blackmon said.

He and other firefighters are staying at a campsite with pitch tents, cots and blankets.

"I've got a sleeping bag that keeps me pretty warm," he said.

Firefighters who are on the front lines say they need to eat at least 8,000 calories a day. They are getting bag lunches, snacks and dinner each day.

"We look out for one another," Blackmon said.

The Party Rock Fire at Rumbling Bald Mountain has already burned more than 6,700 acres. Some of that burned acreage is from burnout operations.

"That's where we're actually lighting fire against our containment lines so that fire will meet the wildfire and it will burnout all the fuel used to create more fire," Blackmon said.

Victoria Tillotson, is the public information officer with the North Carolina Forest Service. On Friday, a FOX Carolina crew got a chance to see some burnout areas.

"We're looking for shags and different dead tress that might fall and create a hazard," Tillotson said.

Firefighters are also worried about strong winds in the area.

"The communities of the Rumbling Bald Resort- they're probably going to be the most impacted because the wind is coming from the Northwest direction and that's actually going to sort of put the fire toward their community," Tillotson said.

Blackmon said he is ready to continue to help where he can.

"It's like a family community that we have."

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