Officials in North Carolina are declaring a state of emergency as wildfires are burning hundreds of acres

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HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials have declared a state of emergency in a western North Carolina community where a wildfire has burned hundreds of acres, burned some structures and now threatens dozens of homes.

Crews are battling several separate fires in forested areas of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky as large swathes of those states face moderate to severe drought conditions and warmer than normal temperatures.

CA Homes remains at risk as firefighters work to contain wildfires

The 431-acre (174-hectare) fire in Henderson County, North Carolina, has destroyed two homes, a cabin and an outbuilding, county officials said in a social media post Sunday. emergency situation. Officials have identified 75 other structures that are at risk and said fire departments are focusing on structure protection while the North Carolina Forest Service is focusing on placing fire lines. -in.

Meanwhile, crews are battling a fire in Cherokee County that has grown to more than 2,100 acres (850 hectares), but is not threatening structures, the US Forest Service said.

The North Carolina Forest Service issued a burn ban Sunday for 14 counties in the western part of the state due to dangerous wildfire conditions and said it would remain in effect until further notice. get

“Several counties in North Carolina are currently in severe drought, and we are seeing an increase in wildfire activity due to dry conditions. “Because the dry weather is expected to continue with this burn ban, the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly,” the statement said.

Wild fire

North Carolina has been hit with severe wildfires that have burned thousands of acres. (Wisconsin DNR)

In Virginia, the state Department of Forestry said a wildfire near Madison County has prompted officials to encourage some residents to evacuate as crews work to contain the fire. from scattering. That fire had burned nearly 2,500 acres (1,012 hectares) as of Sunday, but no structures were affected and firefighters were installing additional fire lines until to hold, said the group.

In eastern Kentucky, where conditions were also dry, the chief of Harlan County issued a burn ban and state of emergency on Sunday, saying there had been six wildfires in the past three days. gone “which has put a lot of pressure on the first respondent. agencies.”

Two firefighters were injured “while trying to protect life and property,” said Harlan County Superior Court Judge Dan Mosley.

Crews were battling two fires in East Tennessee including one in Rocky Top, but no injuries were reported and no structures are threatened, Anderson County officials told news outlets.

Said Lt. Clinton Fire Department, Lt. Daniel Adams that the area is very dry and that together with leaves covering the ground creates conditions ripe for brush fires.

“Anything as simple as taking cigarettes out of your window or taking care of ashes – stuff we wouldn’t worry about right now – we’re really worried about because of the drought, Adams told WBIR-TV.

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Other parts of the US are seeing unseasonably warmer temperatures and dry conditions this week. The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw highs in the 80s, about 10 degrees warmer than normal. Milder weather also extended into the Midwest, where Wichita, Kansas, saw temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). A cold front was expected to creep into the Central and Southern Plains later this week pushing highs down to normal for this time of year.

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