Wildfire at Pilot Mountain State Park expands to 1,000+ acres as it continues to burn for fourth day in N.C.

The park is about 100 miles north of Charlotte in Surry and Yadkin counties.
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 1:01 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 1:05 PM EST
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PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - Nearly 100 firefighters are on the ground working to contain a large wildfire at Pilot Mountain State Park in North Carolina.

Officials provided an update Tuesday afternoon and said that 20 percent of the fire has been contained.

Crews say the fire should be under control in two to three days.

Emergency crews say the way the fire is burning, which is downhill and away from a fuel source, that is giving them the advantage of stopping it.

Pilot Mountain State Park will continue to be closed until the fire is put out.

Related: ‘Our firefighters have enough on their hands’: Pilot Mountain fire expected to burn for days

The fire was first reported Saturday evening.

The park is about 100 miles north of Charlotte in Surry and Yadkin counties.

Related: More than 180 acres burned by fire at Pilot Mountain State Park

The North Carolina Forestry Service said the fire had burned more than 1,000 acres as of Tuesday afternoon.

Ed Schafer and his wife just moved from Florida, having purchased this old bed and breakfast on a lake and converting it into their home.

It was their slice of paradise, an achievement for a lifetime of work.

But their dream quickly turned into dread.

“First night, I don’t think I slept an hour at a time,” Schafer said. “We just sunk everything into moving here and into this house. It’s a beautiful house, and our thoughts are it could be gone tomorrow.”

Just a couple of miles away from their home, fire raced down the side of Pilot Mountain, and they had the perfect view of what was coming.

“If that thing jumps anywhere, there’s no stopping it,” Schafer said.

Denise Williams and her son are on a cross-country trip to do some snowboarding.

They were taking in the sights when they saw the smoke.

“We also noticed the smoke so, we just pulled over to see what was going on. We hadn’t heard about the fire,” said Denise Williams, an Asheboro resident.

“This one definitely seems to be excessive and I hope they can get control of the situation,” said Caleb Williams.

Bill Swertly, from the Forestry Service, said the containment lines are holding and they’re hoping to get this one under control in the next couple of days, even though so far the fire has taken more than 500 acres.

“More than likely in the next two or three days that containment number will shoot up, big time,” Swertly said.

And as the Pilot Mountain fire finally does smolder out, a chance for reflection and planning just in case another one is right around the corner.

“Honestly? I’m going to look at my homeowners insurance to see if the fire is covered now,” Schafer said.

One man said the smell is something he won’t soon forget.

“I want to be home. I don’t want my family to be worried about me being up there, but yet I’m concerned about the folks left behind fighting the fire,” Henry Fansler said.

In a Sunday evening Facebook post, Pilot Mountain Mayor Evan Cockerham said there is little chance of rain in the community’s 10-day forecast and an outdoor burn ban has been issued in Surry County and surrounding counties.

There is still no word or speculation on how all of this started in the first place.

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