Wildfires threaten homes, businesses . . . in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, winds gusting up to 60 mph in some areas toppled trees and power lines and also fanned brush fires across the state.
The Willow Spring Free Will Baptist Church in Cleveland, N.C., just south of Raleigh, was holding a worship service when a fire forced it to evacuate, the town's Fire Chief Chris Ellington said.
Interstate 85 near the Vance-Granville county line was closed Sunday afternoon and traffic detoured because of a wildfire that jumped into the median, the State Highway Patrol said. That fire burned about 20 acres, said Forest Resources spokesman Brian Haines.
The Department of Transportation said Interstate 40 in Guilford County was closed because of fallen power lines blamed on the high winds, the Associated Press reported.
In Johnston County, about 60 firefighters responded to a fire that threatened 20 homes. None were lost and no injuries were reported, though a church was evacuated during a service and two empty barns burned down, fire authorities said.
A 20-acre fire was burning in Alamance as well, Haines said. “Pretty much all district personnel and equipment is committed across the state,” Haines said. Winds were so high that many of the division’s fire-fighting aircraft were unable to take off, adding to the difficulty, he said.
We've long appreciated a temperate climate with adequate, even rainfall in North Carolina. Those extremes of drought, fire, floods, and mudslides were, we thought, a West Coast phenomenon.
Looks like we may have been mistaken.