CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - A State of Emergency has been declared for 47 counties in North Carolina as a result of wildfires burning more than 69,000 acres in the western part of the state.
Gov. Pat McCrory first issued the emergency on Thursday morning, November 10, for 25 counties stating that the declaration will help "help facilitate evacuations" and provide additional assets to combat the fires.
"As eastern North Carolina was underwater due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew, the western part of the state has been suffering from severe drought and now hundreds of acres are burning," said Gov. McCrory.
McCrory added 22 more counties to the list on Wednesday, November 23.
The State of Emergency is in effect for the following counties:
Watch as wildfires burn off of Lake Lure. Video courtesy: ResortCams. App users.
The N.C. Forest Service has issued a burning ban on all open burning and canceled burning permits in the counties listed above.
Evacuations have been ordered in Clay, Graham, Macon, Rutherford and Swain counties.
Forest wildfires have been burning in counties that are experiencing extreme drought.U.S. Forest Service, N.C. Emergency Management's Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team has deployed a N.C. National Guard Blackhawk helicopter and local rescue technicians to perform any rescues necessary from wildfire fighting operations.
Governor McCrory reminded the public that the state is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for setting wildfires. Anyone with information about these wildfires should contact Macon County Crimestoppers at 828-349-2600 or Jackson County Crimestoppers at 828-631-1125.