MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Along the trails in the South Mountains State Park south of Morganton it is not hard to find reminders of what happened three years ago.
Blackened stumps and charred remains of logs and branches litter the forest floor in places. Thousands of acres burned there in the fall of 2016, as well as in other places such as Lake Lure, Caldwell County, Watauga County and more.
Drought conditions hit a peak just as the fall fire season began then and now experts are warning that could happen again this year.
“We are certainly lining ourselves up for a repeat of 2016 if we don’t get any rain soon,” said District Forester Duane Truslow of the North Carolina Forest Service.
Much of the foothills and mountains, he says, are abnormally dry and getting drier. The prospect for significant rain over the next few weeks is slim, he says.
Officials are urging people to pay extra attention to any outdoor burning until conditions change.
Even a spark, in drought conditions, can set off a major fire, they said.