Gov. McCrory: “We have California fires in North Carolina”

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LAKE LURE, NC   Governor Pat McCrory says “we have California fires in North Carolina” as he spoke to reporters Monday near the site of one of those fires in Lake Lure.

The Party Rock Fire has burned 2,400 acres as of Monday morning and is only 15 percent contained. Governor McCrory believes most of the fires in the area were started by humans.

The governor says the top focus is to avoid any deaths or injuries for first responders. None have been reported so far.

A total of 500 people are in the area operating fire trucks and fighting the flames. About 75 fire trucks are at the scene according to the governor. Firefighters have come from as far as California, Oregon and Alaska to help the effort.

Much of the attention now is centered on protecting buildings in Chimney Rock. More than 40 businesses are located there. That fire is considered to be the second highest priority fire in the United States.

Roads in the area are being utilized as a natural fire line, but crews are having a difficult time establishing other lines because of the conditions.

The cost of fighting fires in western North Carolina has reached $10 million. The federal government will cover about 75 percent of those expenses.