1,000+ evacuated as NC mountain wildfires grow to nearly 46,000 acres

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RALEIGH, NC — A firefighter was hurt and hospitalized on Monday evening as more than 1,000 firefighters battled dozens of wildfires over 45,000 acres in the North Carolina mountains.

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The Party Rock Fire, which is threatening Lake Lure and nearby areas in Rutherford County, neared 3,500 acres after being less than 3,000 acres over the weekend.

The Party Rock Fire, which continues to advance west of Round Top Mountain, has forced about 1,000 people to evacuate Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Bat Cave and Rumbling Bald Resort, officials say.

On Monday night, while surveying fire lines on the Party Rock Fire, a firefighter was injured when his ATV flipped, officials say. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and is expected to recover.

In addition to the Lake Lure-area evacuations, mandatory evacuations were already issued in parts of five other North Carolina counties: Henderson, Graham, Swain, Clay and Macon.

The fire near Lake Lure has grown from just 344 acres to 10 times that size in less than a week.

Gov. Pat McCrory visited the Lake Lure area on Monday and vowed to do “everything to fight” the wildfires.

“We have California wildfires in North Carolina,” McCrory said.