PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. — The abnormally dry weather we’ve seen for much of this fall is taking its toll on the Carolinas. Pilot Mountain State Park, located in Surry County, NC, will be closed indefinitely as firefighters battle a blaze that started on-site Saturday. The cause of the fire is unknown.
As of early Sunday afternoon, the fire had consumed roughly 200 acres on the western face of the beloved natural landmark. While firefighters have made progress containing the inferno, officials say the situation is still not under control.
Smoke from the fire is visible from communities dozens of miles away, as many residents have taken to social media with reports and pictures. The blaze has even caught the attention of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
According to the Pilot Knob Volunteer Fire Department, over 50 firefighters have committed to the containment of the fire. A helicopter was seen Sunday morning dumping water over the park.
Fortunately, no homes or businesses are under direct threat.
Although it’s unlikely that the weather sparked the pyre, it certainly hasn’t been doing firefighters any favors. Over 75% of the Carolinas are dealing with abnormally dry conditions, priming forests and grasslands alike for burning. It certainly hasn’t helped that millions of pounds of dead leaves have fallen over the past month, setting up plenty of tinder for the blaze.
To make matters worse, it looks like our bone-dry pattern persists for much of the week ahead. Rain chances remain few and far between as we open up December, suggesting that conditions will likely get worse before they get better.