Investigators seek suspects in McDowell Co. wildfires - FOX Carolina 21

Investigators seek suspects in McDowell Co. wildfires

Posted: Updated:
Wildfire on Curtis Creek Road. (Credit: Matt Huggins) Wildfire on Curtis Creek Road. (Credit: Matt Huggins)
Scene of wildfire on Curtis Creek Road. (November 20, 2016 FOX Carolina) Scene of wildfire on Curtis Creek Road. (November 20, 2016 FOX Carolina)
Scene of wildfire on Curtis Creek Road. (November 20, 2016 FOX Carolina) Scene of wildfire on Curtis Creek Road. (November 20, 2016 FOX Carolina)
Clear Creek fire on Monday (Nov. 21, 2016) Clear Creek fire on Monday (Nov. 21, 2016)
MCDOWELL, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Investigators are asking for the public's help identifying a person they believe is setting wildfires in McDowell County.

One suspicious fire, the Clear Creek fire, burned more than 180 acres and was still burning on Monday.

Within a two week span, officials said roadside fires started in Woodlawn, North Cove, Pleasant Gardens and Marion.

Some of the fires were extinguished in hours, but others like the Clear Creek blaze have lasted days.  Approximately 100 local, regional, state and federal officials continue to fight the fire.

“We’ve seen a recent rash of this, and it needs to stop,” said Fire Investigator Craig Walker of McDowell County Emergency Management. “Fire conditions are very serious right now, and this person is putting people’s lives and property in danger.”

Anyone with information about the fires or a possible suspect is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 828-652-2235, the 911 communications center at 828-652-4000 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 828-65-CRIME (652-7463). 

FOX Carolina was able to obtain raw footage from Matt Huggins as he flew a drone over this wildfire on Piney Mountain Sunday.

Due to the wildfire, the Old Clear Creek intersection was closed to allow emergency personnel to safely navigate the area.

People who live in the vicinity of those roads, as well as in the Curtis Creek Road community, were asked to shelter in place while crews battled the wildfires.

Smoky conditions are to be expected early Monday morning with 10 to 15 mph winds sustained throughout the day.

A Red Flag warning, meaning fire conditions are critical, is in effect for McDowell County. Please report all fires to 911 immediately.

A shelter is opening at Nebo Crossing Church on 6 p.m. Monday for those affected by smoke from the Clear Creek fire. The local chapter of the Red Cross will assist residents in need of shelter at that location.

Anyone wishing to donate items for the fire crews is asked to take the donations to the following drop-off points:

McDowell County Rescue Squad
186 State St.
Marion, NC 28762
(828) 652-6033

Pleasant Gardens Baptist Church
214 P.G. Baptist Church Road
Marion NC 28752
(828) 803-4366

Suggested items include beef jerky, lip balm, eye wash, wool caps/toboggans, bandanas, protein bars, breakfast bars, boot socks, travel-size hand wipes, travel-size hand lotion, travel-size foot powder, and hand warmers. 

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