ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A two-week-old North Carolina mountain wildfire doubled in size in just a day and is now up to 1,335 acres — just as a new wildfire broke out Sunday afternoon in Asheville and a fire near Hendersonville grew to 250 acres.
A burn ban was also issued Sunday for 14 counties in the mountains.
The Sunday afternoon fire in west Asheville threatened four homes in the Westmore Drive area that were evacuated, according to the Asheville Fire Department. The fast-moving brush fire jumped Deaverview Road — and then threatened several homes Sunday, according to the Asheville Fire Fighters Association.
After more than an hour, the fire in western Ashville was contained — but not extinguished.
Flames got about 15 feet from a house before fire crews lept over a fence and managed to put it out. Two planes then dropped water on the scene around 2 p.m. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, the Poplar Drive Fire burning near Hendersonville in the Edneyville community grew from 200 to 250 acres into Sunday with just 5 percent contained. Two homes and an outbuilding were lost to the wildfire, while another home sustained minimal damage, North Carolina Forest Service officials said.
Henderson County Emergency Management and Henderson County Sheriff’s Office have implemented evacuations at more than 34 threatened structures near Bald Top Mountain.
Overnight into Sunday, homes at 1072 Kyle’s Creek Road and 650 East Poplar Dr. caught fire and “sustained substantial damage,” the Edneyville Fire Department said.
A farm in the Green Mountain Road area evacuated goats and three donkeys Sunday afternoon as the fire near Hendersonville continued burning.
The blaze started Friday and grew to 200 acres in just a day.
Fairview Fire Department in Buncombe County said Sunday “intense operations” continued against the Hendersonville wildfire and “the public not residing in the immediate (area) should avoid the area.”
In another county, the largest and longest burning wildfire in the North Carolina mountains exploded in size from Saturday to Sunday, with the Collett Ridge Fire now at 1,335 acres — up from just 677 acres Saturday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“Drought conditions continued and fire activity increased throughout the fire area resulting in additional growth on all sides of the fire,” the Forest Service said Sunday.
The still-uncontained blaze started after an Oct. 23 lightning strike in Cherokee County about four miles north of Andrews, according to the U.S. Forest Service. More than 90 crews are now working 24 hours a day to fight the wildfire.
Initially, the fire burned more than 90 acres after it started and last weekend was at 61 acres — still with no containment in the county in the far southwestern part of North Carolina.
As of Saturday, the Collette Ridge was at 677 acres with no containment, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Rim Trail remains closed for approximately 7 miles from Big Stump to Shinbone.
North Carolina Forest Service officials announced Sunday an open burning ban for 14. Buncombe County officials said Sunday the ban was initiated because of “high fire danger, low humidity, and strong gusty winds.”
“With dry conditions and low relative humidity expected to continue over the next several days, the N.C. Forest Service is strongly urging the public to postpone any and all outdoor burning,” officials said.
The ban is for Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain and Transylvania counties effective 5 p.m., Sunday until further notice.