Crews Battle 500-Acre Wildfire In North Carolina Preserve

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Firefighters are trying to contain a wildfire that covered more than 500 acres in southeastern North Carolina on Tuesday and forced the shutdown of a highway, state officials said.

A news release from the N.C. Department of Agriculture of Consumer Services said the Driving Creek Fire is 20% contained as personnel from the N.C. Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy respond.

Out of concerns for safety, officials have closed N.C. Highway 211 from the N.C. 214 intersection in Bolton to the U.S. Highway 17 intersection in Supply until further notice, the news release said. Residents and travelers have been advised to find alternate routes.

Officials said the 568-acre fire started on Sunday in difficult terrain 6 miles (9 km) north of Supply. An initial investigation determined that the fire was caused by a lightning strike that resulted from weekend storms, the news release said. A full investigation is upcoming, the department said.

The department said containing the 568-acre fire has been difficult because of the terrain, organic soils, heavy fuel and wind conditions. Residents can expect impacts from smoke, according to the news release.